UPDATE: New details released about the murder of Erica Burden, BRASS speaks on domestic violence awareness
BONNIEVILLE, Ky. – The remains of a 27-year-old mother, Erica Burden were discovered Thursday afternoon. Her estranged husband was held in the Larue County Detention Center.
He has since been moved the Grayson County Detention Center.
News 40 is working to find out why he was transferred and will update when we know more.
Police believe Erica’s estranged husband William Billy Burden, 53, was involved in the disappearance of his wife.
He is charged with murder, tampering with physical evidence and the abuse of a corpse.
This comes after Burden posted an image of his wife on Facebook pleading with the public to help find her.
The Hart County mother went missing on Tuesday after dropping her daughter, Lily, off at Bonnieville Elementary School on Tuesday morning.
Erica’s car was seen leaving the parking lot and then made its way back an hour later with the driver side seat cover missing.
Since then, locals have searched tirelessly throughout the area, looking up and down secluded streets and overgrown brush in hopes of finding Erica or a clue to where she might be.
Thursday, police found Erica’s remains near a highway in Upton.
Police say blood was later found inside Erica’s car in the parking lot of Bonnieville Elementary.
KSP detectives say on Wednesday, after searching burden’s home, more evidence including blood was found inside the home.
On Wednesday, a court granted an emergency protective order to keep Lily away from her father, William Burden.
The little girl is now with her grandparents, where Erica and Lily were living before the disappearance.
The family describes Erica as kind, caring and an incredible mother.
News 40 discovered Burden’s criminal past that may have led to Erica’s death.
According to court records, Burden was charged with assault multiple times over the course of the last 25 years.
Last September, he was charged with terroristic threatening and harassment. In July of 2008 he was charged with assault, domestic violence. In October and June of 2006 he was charged with criminal trespassing, terroristic threatening and assault and in 2004 he was charged with aggravated assault.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, each day in the U.S., three women are murdered by their current or former intimate partner. Typically, there is a pattern of abuse before a domestic violence murder.
Friends of Erica spoke with News 40 off camera saying they had major concerns about William and noticed extremely concerning behavior.
Several friends, acquaintances and family members have been talking about their thoughts following the disappearance of 27-year-old Erica Burden Tuesday morning.
They all have different stories to tell about her life saying she was kind and gentle and a fantastic mom.
And many of those close to her also agreed that her relationship with William “Billy” Burden concerned them.
One of Erica’s friends, who spoke off camera, said the cops were called on him and he was banned from Erica’s old job.
Before he was banned, the friend said Burden followed her around a lot and said her personality would change drastically when he came around.
The friend says Erica even told her “You can’t just tell Billy no.”
Family and friends noticed signs of an unhealthy relationship as well as emotional and mental abuse between Erica and William Burden.
But several people say they were unaware of any physical abuse before her disappearance.
The Barren River Area Safe Space was made aware of the tragic loss of Erica and are reaching out to the community to spread domestic violence awareness and safety.
Tori Henninger, the executive director of BRASS, believes a survivor who has made the decision to escape her abuser is one of the strongest and bravest people in the world.
Erica had moved in with her parents with plans to divorce her husband several weeks ago, according to her friends.
But, Henninger says, those people are often the most endangered at the time of their escape.
“The most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is the moment that they decide to leave and that they try to flee or escape their abusive relationships. It is the most common time that homicides occur,” said Henninger.
Henninger says if you notice signs of any form of abuse in a loved one, provide support, a phone number to BRASS and patience as well.
“If I call you and say this word then you know that I need your help. Or having a person that can help them collect their valuables including necessary documentation like IDs and birth certificates and Social Security cards and helping them store a bag of clothes. So that if a person is able to escape, they’re not going to escape with nothing,” said Henninger.
Henninger says if you are concerned, take note.
“If you have a gut feeling, if you feel like there’s something off, I encourage every person in our community to listen to those gut feelings and to document what made them feel that way. There are stories of coworkers who noted when their coworkers were missing and it coincided with the day after an abusive incident that they said occurred,” said Henninger.
Statistics show that one of six women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. In the United States, a woman is physically assaulted every 15 seconds according to Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
Domestic violence does not usually appear overnight.
Erica’s alleged killer, her husband William Billy Burden. followed this pattern of abuse.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline says that many abusers try to gain power and control over the person they’re abusing. This could mean insulting and shaming, pressuring sexual acts or even stopping the person they’re abusing from making financial decisions. And the list goes on.
One local place victims can reach out to is the Barren River Area Safe Space, or B.R.A.S.S. They provide shelter and counseling services to domestic violence victims and their children.