Florida man pleads guilty to fatally strangling ex and hiding her body in a retention pond
02/07/2023 11:39 am PST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (TCD) -- A 29-year-old man recently pleaded guilty to fatally strangling his ex-girlfriend in 2021 and hiding her body in a retention pond.
According to an initial press release from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, 27-year-old Teresa Gorczyca was reported missing on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021.
A witness told the Sheriff’s Office that he picked up North Samuel Cole Pridgen near Alfa Romeo and Coachman Lakes drives per his request, and while riding in the car, Pridgen confessed that he fatally strangled his girlfriend and hid her body, WJXT-TV reports.
The next day, on Sept. 27, 2021, during an interview, Pridgen reportedly told investigators that he picked up Gorcyzca in a Lyft, and they went to his parents’ house around 11 a.m. According to WJXT, Pridgen said he and the victim listened to music and smoked marijuana before she left his parents’ house, and that was the last time he saw her.
Afterward, Pridgen allegedly played basketball and was kicked out of his parents’ house, so he stayed with a friend in Mayport.
As detectives spoke with Pridgen, they reportedly noticed scratches on his body consistent with brush and branches, but he told authorities he sustained the injuries while playing basketball.
According to WTLV-TV, investigators responded to the bridge where the witness picked Pridgen up, and they found a backpack containing Gorczyca’s personal belongings. On Sept. 29, 2021, investigators located her remains in a body of water on the 2100 block of Alfa Romeo Drive, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The victim’s decomposed and bruised body was reportedly hidden under brush and debris on the bank of a canal.
Surveillance video allegedly revealed the victim and Pridgen walking together in the area, and Gorczyca told him, "You’re not coming with me," "Get out of my way," and "Go home."
A while later, a wet Pridgen is reportedly seen on surveillance video walking away.
Nearly half a year after the victim’s body was found, on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, the Sheriff’s Office said Pridgen was arrested in connection with the victim’s death.
On Monday, Feb. 6, Pridgen pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, WJXT reports. His sentencing is scheduled for March 3.
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