Friend of Cold Case Victim Speaks

Published 03/27 2014 08:32PM

Updated 03/28 2014 08:32AM

Two brothers are behind bars tonight in Noble County. They are charged in the 2011 murder of a Fort Wayne Exotic Dancer. Prosecutors say a recent tip lead to a break in the case.

"We all knew each other. She was a good girl, sweet, always laughing, always like the life of the party," said Ashley Drudge, a friend of Erin's who works at the Blue Diamond Show Club off Lima Rd. It's the same spot that employed Erin Justin before she died.

"We were in shock it's so sad. It's just unbelievable that things like this could really happen," said Drudge.

In July of 2011, authorities in Noble County were notified that Erin's body was found floating in Bartley Lake. An autopsy revealed Erin had high levels of drugs in her system including cocaine and methadone. The coroner ruled the cause of death inconclusive.

The case went cold for more than two years until detectives received a tip from a woman who claimed her husband admitted to dumping the body with his brother.

Two suspects were formally charged Wednesday. Andres Gonzalez Jr., 35, of Fort Wayne is charged with murder and removing the body from the scene. His brother Victor Manuel Gonzalez, 32, also of Fort Wayne, is also charged with removing the body and assisting a criminal.

Noble County Prosecutor Steven Clouse addressed the media Wednesday saying, "We are excited for the Erin Justin family. That we can bring the case of their daughter and mother's disappearance and death, one step closer to closure." 

During an interview with detectives, Victor said that he helped his brother move the body and dump it in Bartley Lake. According to court paperwork, Andres admitted to physically attacking Erin until he thought she was dead.

"I think for a lot of people it was definitely an awakening this could happen to any one of us. You never know when it could happen and it's scary," said Drudge.

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