Virginia Erickson, The Forgotten Sweet Home Woman

Skyler Chappell

Virginia Erickson, a name that’s almost forgotten. The Sweet Home resident has been missing since Oct. 21, 1973. Her disappearance was highlighted on episode 411 on the Vanished podcast.

Usually someone’s disappearance causes worry or panic among those closest to them, but, according to the Vanished podcast, Virginia’s husband didn’t seem to share those sentiments.

Based on the podcast, Vanished, stories circulating around about what exactly happened that Sunday evening contrast one another, but one thing is for sure. It was the last day any of her children saw their mother. After her six children went to church, the same church in which their mother was supposed to play piano, they arrived at their home on 48th Avenue to see neither their mother nor their father. Hours later, only their father, David Erickson, returned.

On the morning of Virginia’s disappearance, she allegedly told her oldest daughter, Rachel Dyer, “Rachel, if I’m not here when you get home, you feed the kids and take care of them.” Following that, Dyer and the rest of the kids were taken to church, as their father stayed home with their mother to “go on a hunting trip.” The kids came home to an empty house. Upon their father’s arrival back home, one thing was clear. Something happened to Virginia.

According to Dyer, the day before her mother’s disappearance, there was turmoil in the household. She heard her parents arguing after her 12 year old sister told their mother she was no longer menstruating. According to Dyer on Vanished, she heard her mother say to their father, “I’m bringing Denise to the doctor on Monday. Everyone will know now, for sure, what kind of man you are, and what you’ve done.” Shortly after, an altercation broke out between the mother and the father.

After David arrived home from his hunting trip, Rachel and her sister had asked their father what had happened to their mother. Their father gave multiple misconstrued statements about what happened including that she just ran off. Assuming their father was telling them a hint of the truth, they began looking for missing things they were sure their mother would take with her. Not even her shoes were missing from the home.

Virginia wasn’t reported missing until April the following year, and there were no search efforts until then. Following the report, along with reports from children about abuse from their father, the girls were removed from the household.

David was arrested September 1974 and convicted of first degree rape the following year. He told investigators multiple stories regarding Virginia and her disappearance, but none of them explained where she was or what happened. Oct. 21, 2023, marked 50 years since her disappearance.

Virginia Erickson, age 32 at the time of her disappearance, has never been found. In 2005, David died of congestive heart failure and lung cancer. One of the only people that most likely knew where she was, took what he knew with him to the grave.

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