Mother of toddler goes missing, family friend leads detectives to her body in Florida canal: Sheriff

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Source: Martin County Sheriff's Office; Unsplash

Sep. 7 2021, Published 5:02 p.m. ET

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The body of a mother who vanished in Florida was discovered in a canal and a suspect is under arrest, officials said.

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On Sept. 3, Perrin Damron, 23, was at her home in Stuart when the father of her almost-2-year-old son came by to pick up their child around 6 p.m. Damron was to then meet the baby’s father the following day but she never showed up at the pre-arranged meeting and Damron's friend reported her missing later that night.

Police cleared the father and said he is not accused of any crimes, however, detectives learned Damron voluntarily left her home with family friend, William Westergard, 45, about 6:30 p.m., a half hour after her child left with his dad.

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“Ms. Damron was extremely careful and a loving mother, and had not been in touch with the child since Friday,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said at a Sept. 6 news conference.

“We were very suspicious of him,” Sheriff Snyder said of Westergard. “There was never a point where we were able to eliminate him from suspicion and the suspicion grew as the case continued.”

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As detectives investigated, Snyder alleged, “the suspect made incriminating statements” and “there was some physical evidence found at the house,” reportedly including Ring camera video.

The sheriff’s office said Westergard led investigators to Damron’s body in an Indiantown canal on Sept. 5, two days after she went missing, The Palm Beach Post reported.

Palm Beach County sheriff deputies arrested Westergard and he is being held without bond on a first-degree murder charge.

“I am always profoundly sad when someone loses their life in violence,” Sheriff Snyder said. “This case obviously did not end like we wanted it to. We hoped from the beginning that we would find her. I was thinking about that this morning and I was thinking about her child and a mother is gone and that child will never know [the] mother and there are a lot of victims in this.”

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