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One month later: Search continues for missing Cape mother Erica Ann Johnson

Erica Johnson.jpeg
Posted at 2:33 PM, Aug 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-08 04:31:26-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla.  — It’s been close to one month since 36-year-old Erica Ann Johnson went missing without a trace. Cape Coral Police are continuing their search and addressing speculation circulating online.

“These investigations are very complex,” said Brandon Sancho, Public Information Officer for the Cape Coral Police Department. “Based on the timeframe, she could be anywhere in the United States.”

Detectives tracked down Johnson at a Greyhound bus stop in Tampa, but from there, they don’t know where she went. The mother of two was last seen getting on a bus early in the morning on July 8 at a southeast Cape Coral Transit Center.

Police say that’s when she went to Fort Myers to get on a Greyhound. However, the timeline leading up to Johnson’s disappearance starts on June 6. In a missing persons report obtained by Fox 4, Johnson, a divorced mother of two, missed an appointment to see her kids, but the report does not specify with whom.

Johnson texted the person she had an appointment with at 7 a.m., and the person then said they had not heard from her since. The report doesn’t state where Johnson was between June 6 and July 5.

On July 5, she went from work to a bus stop at the Bell Shop Towers in Fort Myers. The report says she was dropped off by a co-worker. Johnson ended up at a Cape Coral Transit Center around 5:30 p.m.

Three days later, the mother was caught on surveillance video at the same bus stop. Only this time it was at 5:30 a.m. and she had some things with her.

“She left with I believe a bunny cage, a gate, a backpack and some items. It’s believed that she also left with her bunny as well,” Sancho said.

From there, Johnson was seen getting off a Greyhound bus in Tampa, Sancho said. Her family reported her missing on July 14.

Her disappearance has sparked a lot of attention on social media, especially surrounding domestic violence. Many people are using her name as a hashtag and questioning the circumstances. We asked why the police department thinks it’s causing a stir online.

“I think just that in recent light of people going missing, like Lauren Dumolo locally, and others in the local area too -- it definitely causes some type of controversy,” Sancho explained.

Controversy the police department wants to clear up.

“I will tell you that a lot of people are saying maybe she’s escaping from something DV-related, something domestic violence related. We don’t have that information readily available,” Sancho said. “So I know a lot of people are kinda having speculation as far as why she left.”

Sancho also says they do not believe foul play is suspected. In the missing persons report, Cape Coral Police deem her has endangered.

“No vehicle, no social media, no bank account, which is truly unique because most people have at least one of those and it would allow our detectives and investigators to be able to track and locate that subject,” he explained. “This subject actually left with some belongings. That could mean numerous different things. I don’t want to speculate, but I will say maybe they didn’t want to be found.”

After she was reported missing, police went to a commercial building where she rented a room, police say. They found a small couch, bin of clothes, a blue bicycle and a backpack. The report states neighbors saw her with a black suitcase a week before and have not seen her since.

Police also tried to call her, but it went to voicemail. The report states she turns off her phone when Johnson doesn’t need to use it.

“We do sometimes see subjects who don’t want to be found, so they shut off their location or they’re discarding their phone. It’s usually for a reason,” Sancho said. “We would have to make contact with her first in order to figure out what was her true reason for leaving and not leaving any trace of evidence.”

Whether or not she left on her own, Sancho says they’re going to push forward with the case.

“The family obviously cares. They want to know. They want answers too and that’s what we’re looking to find,” he said.

Tampa Police say they’re aware of Johnson’s disappearance and are working with Cape Coral detectives. Even if Johnson did leave on her own, Sancho says they will still consider her a missing person until they physically talk to Johnson.

If you know where she is, you’re asked to call your local police department.