"When I was 2 years old my father murdered my mother," Erica, 23, reveals.
Her mother and father had been separated for a couple months when her father came over to their house with a gun. She says he came inside, accosted her mother, tied her up and tortured her. Erica, her sister and their grandparents were there to witness the assault.
While describing the events of that day, Erica pauses to cry and asks that the interview be momentarily stopped. She then goes on to describe her mother running into the bathroom and jumping out the window. Erica's father had shot her twice, and she died in the front yard. Her father was arrested that night and eventually stood trial for murder.
"What hurts me," Erica says, "is that I have no feelings. I have no memory. I have nothing of my mother. All I have is what people tell me and pictures that I see. About a year ago, I started getting these urges, like my mom was coming to me and saying to me, 'My dad, my dad, your dad, your dad,' and I felt like I needed to go see him for closure. And when I called the prison to get his address, I found out that he had been released."
Erica's father has been out of prison for about three years, and he lives in her town.
"Sometimes I wonder if he has driven by my house or maybe even talked to me because if he did, I wouldn't know who he is, and I don't know what he would do. I would like to see my dad to let him
"He has a second chance
Dr. Phil has taken a seat in the audience. Sitting side by side with Erica, he comforts her as she cries.
"That was hard to watch," he says. She nods, tearfully. He then invites Erica to the stage. Once seated, Dr. Phil says, "That's the first time you've seen some of that news footage where your father is being cuffed, dragged to the car and all."
"Yes," she says, wiping away tears.
"What comes to mind when you see that?" he asks, extending a handkerchief to her.
"I had to see that here, and my family never speaks of this, acts like this has never even happened."
"But it did happen," says Dr. Phil, "and he shot your mother three times with a 12-gauge shotgun."
"And said it was an accident," she adds.
Dr. Phil notes the implausibility. "Yeah. Three times it was an accident, right?" he says. Dr. Phil then revisits that fateful day. He asks Erica what she remembers.
She tells him, "I remember we were taking baths, me and my sister. We were at my grandmother's house. And I remember coming out of the bath, and going to the other side of the house, and my dad coming in the front door with the shotgun. And then the next thing I remember, I remember my mom and my dad were behind the couch in the living room, and my grandparents and my sister and I were by the back door, and my grandmother pushed us out of the back door, and my sister and I ran out and ran to the neighbor's house. It's weird to me that the only thing I remember about my childhood is that day. I don't remember being told about my mother. I don't remember being told about my father, what had happened. I don't remember any of that."
"I was shocked to know that he had been out for all this time, and I never even knew," Erica says.
"And you think you want to talk to him? You think you want to see him?" Dr. Phil probes.