Erica Hagan’s family searches for answers weeks after not guilty verdict

The family of Erica Hagan now knows why a panel of three judges found the only suspect in her murder not guilty. Hagan, who was from Murray, was killed in Chile, where she worked as a teacher, in September 2014.

Barbara McCormick describes her granddaughter Erica as a "fun loving girl". She says the idea of Hagan moving to Chile two summers ago made her nervous.

"I didn’t want her to go, but you know she was a free spirit," McCormick said. 

Weeks after Domingo Cofre, a security guard and the man accused in Hagan’s murder, was found not guilty, McCormick goes through every article and email she’s collected over the past year searching for answers.

"I just don’t know why. I may never know why," McCormick said.

The only explanation Hagan’s family has for the not guilty verdict is an email from the Public Prosecutors Office in Temuco, Chile, explaining the judge’s reasoning. It lists reasons, including no motive. It says, "Cofre did not have a reason to kill Erica. He passed the psychiatric assessment, and the person who killed Erica must have had a lot of anger against her. Cofre was described as a calmed person who vaguely knew Erica."

The email also says there were no signs of forced entry into Hagan’s apartment. "The perpetrator was a person who Erica knew well or had keys to enter her apartment considering the fact that she was naked and about to take a shower," the email said.

It also says two different samples of DNA were found on the suspected murder weapon, and it wasn’t possible to establish the date in which Cofre touched the weapon. The email says "genetic samples should have been place into paper and not plastic containers, meaning evidence was wrongly collected."  

Another reason listed on the email is it was not proven blood found on Cofre’s clothes belonged to Erica.

"I go to sleep thinking about her. I wake up thinking about the horrible suffering she went through," McCormick said.

She says she doesn’t agree with the not guilty verdict, but she also thinks more than one person could have been involved in the murder.

"There’s a lot of questions unanswered," McCormick said.

She hopes those questions are answered soon.

"If they’re put in jail, it just may save another young girl’s life. If he’s not, who knows," McCormick said.

McCormick says prosecutors have appealed the verdict. The three judges have five days to respond.

Hagan’s brother says he just wants justice for his sister. He says he doesn’t want his sister’s murder to go unsolved. He and her mother aren’t ready to speak on camera.

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