Erin's biological mother says she's heartbroken

Erin Maxwell

The biological mother of 11-year-old murder victim Erin Maxwell is "heartbroken and shocked" upon hearing the news that her daughter was killed and sexually abused. Yet Ryann Andress said she is "a little bit relieved to hear somebody has been arrested instead of just speculation" about her daughter's killer. Andress lives in Nevada and hadn't seen her daughter Erin in eight years because she terminated her parental rights during a difficult time in her life.

During an interview from her parents' home Andress said "I left eight years ago. I felt I was unfit and she'd be better off without that. And now, yeah, that hurts a lot." Andress became pregnant with Erin when she was 17 years old. Erin's father Lyndsey Maxwell told police the three of them moved in with his parents for a couple of years to get help raising Erin. Andress told Action News anchor Matt Mulcahy, "I terminated my parental rights because I was not in a good place emotionally. I didn't wish that on her."

Andress was aware that Lyndsey and Erin and moved to New York several years ago, but she thought everything was good there. She was not aware of the conditions in which her daughter lived. Then on August 29th she got a call from a family member who was told Erin was in the hospital. Within hours the second call came that she had died. Since then Ryan said, "some days I'm falling apart, other days I'm angry."

Over the years Ryan Andress thought frequently about the daughter she gave up, yet she held out hope "Erin someday, she might find me and I could give her some answers... that will never happen now."

Ryan Andress says it has been a long road for her getting her own life back on track. She has followed the story about her daughter from afar and has found comfort in the outpouring of community support in the name of her daughter Erin Maxwell.