By Sandra Owen Ebeling

A little girl born in Cameron, Missouri, in 1993, full of life, full of fun, and most of all full of love for her family, friends and her boyfriend. Erica was all of these things. She grew up for the most part in Owensboro, Kentucky, where her family moved when her father, Maurice Owen, took a job there. A happy place, growing up there, she was a sassy little girl, always taking care of everyone around her. Loved playing nurse, hospital and all the things that little girls like to do. She loved shoes, dressing to the hilt and makeup. I think she gets that trait from her Grandma Vel. Grandma Vel taught all of us how to wear makeup.

Her spunky, vivacious attitude proves that dynamite comes in small packages. She loved the St. Louis Cardinals. She and her family attended many games there. Matter of fact that was one of the last times I spoke to her. She was going to be attending a Cardinals game for her 25th birthday on May 20, and we were also going to be there on the 191h of May. She had asked if we would be there for the 20th game and I said we would not as we just had tickets for the 19th game This would come to be the last time I spoke to Erica

The last time that the whole family had been together was on Thanksgiving weekend, 2017 We had all gathered for the wedding of Mark Owen, and Duane and I hosted a party for the family after the wedding which was held in nearby Wyaconda, Missouri. A fun evening, cards, visiting, talking of the future, laughing, and just being together.

Erica loved selfies and was always taking them She would snapchat family and friends of her night shifts at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital They were always up to something. One of my favorite selfies of her is one she took here in our dining room, her eyes twinkling,, her smile beautiful.

That particular night here at our home, she was with her then boyfriend, Matt Adams. He had been with our family many times, helping with errands in LaBelle, helping with yard work for Vel, and always a very mannerly, kind young man I always liked the guy. His name, a familiar name of the St Louis Cardinals, Matt Adams, always made him a popular conversation piece. He had a nice smile, but he also had a dark side–drinking too much and too often. He had difficulty knowing when to stop. He had several DUI tickets and had just recently served some time for those charges, which some of us did not know about until that Thanksgiving weekend.

Erica stood by him during many of these events, because she had a huge heart, and at one time, a love for Matt. He had been in counseling for this I believe, on numerous occasions had stopped drinking. In 2018, he had fell victim to this addiction once again. He had quit his job sometime in the spring, and had not been doing well at all. At times, he was rude to Erica and demanding – Domestic Abuse!!!

During the weekend of May 20, her 25th birthday, while in St Louis, he treated her very badly, arguing with her, and being continually rude It was after this weekend, that Erica decided that she had had enough. She told Matt Adams she wanted him to get help, to get a job, and to someday live a normal life, but not with her. She told me that she wished him well and hoped he would get the help that he needed.

From this weekend on, trouble started for Erica relative to Matt. She dealt with several break ins at her home by him, wrecking the interior of parts of her home. She filed a restraining order, and domestic violence order against him. He would come to her home when she was not there and tore up her backyard swimming pool, often scaring her dogs badly while there. She also had security cameras installed to help with the problem. The last time that he entered the home, sometime nearing the date of July 3, he had made an opening in the wall of her bedroom from another room, and also cut the internet lines disabling the security cameras. This had apparently gone un-noticed by Erica. She had been spending the nights with her mom and family, and also with her current boyfriend, Tyler.

The night of July 2, she had worked 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. She had a few errands to run and went to also visit her boyfriend, Tyler. She had also called her Mom, Lisa, and talked to her for a while, getting home sometime around 10:30 a.m. to shower and head to bed. It is believed that Matt Adams might have already been in the home when she arrived, or that he was waiting in the back area to come into the home after she got home. It is believed that she went to bed, fell asleep soundly, and then he entered the home through this space he had created at an earlier date. It is evident that he entered the home while she was asleep, and approached her bed and strangled her in her sleep. This is the cause of death. This happened at approximately 1:30 p.m.

After this, Matt Adams took Erica’s car from her driveway, traveling approximately 2-3 blocks to his sister’s home. It was during his arrival at his sister’s home that he took an extension cord from Erica’s vehicle and tried to hang himself. The police were summoned at this time. When they arrived on the scene, he told the police to go to Erica’s home on Placid Place, as he felt that he had killed Erica Owen. At the time of his arrest, he was also wanted for violating his probation from earlier charges of DUI’s.

There have been several hearings in the case up to now. There was a hearing in October, 2018, and another pre-trial conference held in January, 2019 There is another pre-trial conference scheduled for March 6, 2019. There has been an attorney obtained from Frankfort, Kentucky to be the lead in the case since it is capital murder. They are also asking the death sentence in this case.

On that day in July, the life of a young, vivacious woman, with a great career, inner and outer beauty, at only 25 years old, was taken way too soon. Her life was taken by someone that we all knew. and at one time trusted, Matt Adams, who at one time, was welcomed into our lives and homes, who became a troubled, sick young man, who was obsessed with Erica Owen, and who we feel felt that if he could not have her, no one could.

On that day in July, we lost a daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece and most of all a great friend to many, and a wonderful nurse. On that day in July, our lives changed forever. On that day in July, heaven gamed a wonderful angel. Please know that domestic violence takes its toll on young women all across America. #GoPurpleforErica

Erica Owen is the daughter of Maurice Owen and Lisa Denham Owen Greer. She is the granddaughter of Vel Owen of LaBelle, niece of Sandra and Duane Ebeling, of Wyaconda, and Mark and Delana Owen of LaBelle, Missouri.