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Missing Pieces: Erica Garcia cold case update

On June 7, 1997, the body of Erica Garcia was found in the abandoned Alief General Hospital building.

HOUSTON — In an empty field on the west side of Houston, it’s hard to look past one mother’s grief.

Margarita Garcia's daughter, Erica Garcia, was murdered there.

RELATED: Cold case: 14-year-old girl's rape, murder still a mystery

“She was 14. She was a strong-headed girl ... very pretty," Margarita said about her daughter.

Her friends called her “Tweety" and it's a name she had tattooed. She had just made the cheerleading squad at Sharpstown Middle School.

“I didn’t get to see her get married, I didn’t get to see her have children," Margarita said.

She still doesn’t know who did it or why they killed her daughter.

“She didn’t deserve this, she did not deserve to die like this," Margarita said.

The empty field used to be the site of the old Alief General Hospital. A security guard making the rounds found Erica's body on June 7, 1997.

“I am confident enough to say that there are at least two people out there that know what happened," Houston Police Department Detective Ramon Cervantes said.

He works with HPD's Cold Case Unit.

Investigators said Erica was raped and strangled with her own clothing but they've never been able to pinpoint a motive.

However, police can pinpoint where Erica was before she was killed. The night before her death, her aunt dropped her off at a teen club called New Dimension.

“Her friend met her outside on Beechnut and I watched her go in and that was the last time I saw her," Erica's aunt, Brenda Garcia-Chavez, said.

Derek Spier remembers when it happened.

“Back early 90s, there were some gangs of choice around here," Spier said.

He’s retired now, but at the time he was an HPD sergeant assigned to Sharpstown Middle School.

“My partner and I would be out here every day before and after school to make sure the kids were OK," he said.

Still fresh on his mind is the conversation he had with Erica before her death.

“She was tired of the life she was living and she wanted to change it. She wanted to start new," Spier said.

Now 25 years later, police and the Garcia family believe the killer is still out there. The cold case team is conducting new interviews and looking at what evidence can be submitted for testing for DNA.

"So now, with the DNA we are hoping to retrieve from the evidence we do have from the scene, we're hoping that submitting that again and using the technology today with the DNA, we're able to get a clearer picture of possibly who was involved," Cervantes said.

In the meantime, the Garcia family has spent their own time pounding the pavement.

“We have tried ... we have redone flyers, we have started at the beginning, we have come all the way down Beechnut,” Garcia-Chavez said.

They've taken it all the way back to the empty field where Margarita's tears are met by new hope. It grows in what was the darkest of places.

“I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to give up. I need closure,” Margarita said.

There is an up to $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS (8477).

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