Adoptive Parents Charged With Murder and Abuse of Erica Parsons

February 21, 2018 Updated: February 21, 2018

On Feb. 19, just a few days shy of what would have been her 20th birthday, Erica Parsons’ adoptive parents were indicted for her murder by a North Carolina grand jury.

Erica Parsons disappeared in November 2011, but was not reported missing until July 30, 2013. An investigation into her whereabouts uncovered an appalling tale of abuse, which ended with the child’s death.

Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten announced the charges at a press conference on Feb. 20. At the press conference he said the case had “haunted our county for several years now.” the Salisbury Post reported.

Casey and Sandy Parsons were each charged with First Degree Murder, Felony Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury, Felony Concealment of Death, and Felony Obstruction of Justice, according to court records.

The pair were already serving 10- and 8-year sentences after multiple convictions for tax fraud, mail fraud, theft of government funds, identity theft, and conspiracy to defraud the government, all handed down in 2014, WKYC reported. The couple will be extradited to Rowan County, North Carolina, where they will face trial.

A Life of Suffering

Erica Parsons was two years old when she was adopted by her new mother and father, Casey and Sandy Parsons.

The Parsonses were indirectly related to Erica. Erica’s biological mother, Carolyn Parsons, had been married to Sandy’s brother, though Sandy’s brother was not Erica’s father. Carolyn Parsons had three other children and couldn’t care for another so she asked the Parsons family to adopt Erica to keep her out of foster care.

Erica’s older brother, Jamie, a biological child of the Parsons, was the one who reported Erica missing. Jamie, 19 at the time, had allegedly argued with his parents and afterward, reported his sister missing.

He retracted those statement. However Jamie testified in Federal court in 2015 that the last time he had seen her, “She looked like a zombie,” WBTV reported, and she told him that she “didn’t feel good, couldn’t breathe too good.”

He also testified to a litany of horrifying punishments Erica suffered at the hands of her adoptive parents and their biological children.

Jamie stated that Sandy would often punch Erica in the back and top of her head.

He also testified that her adoptive mother, Casey, would bend back her fingers until they broke, and would then reset them in a cast herself, refusing to take the child to the hospital. Jamie also said that he once broke his sister’s arm, WBTV reported.

Sometimes Erica was locked in a closet for hours and then punished if she soiled herself. She was often starved, and occasionally fed dog food, Jamie stated.

Despite everything her son said, Casey Parsons maintained that Erica had been sent in 2011 to live with her maternal grandmother—even when it was discovered that the grandmother had died in 2005.

Autopsy Substantiates the Claims

Sandy Parsons, already in jail on multiple convictions, told authorities that he wanted to come clean about Erica’s fate, the Salisbury Post reported.

Sandy Parsons led police to a family property in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, about 80 miles from the Parsons’s former home in Salisbury. There, he led them to a shallow grave containing skeletal remains.

It took the Rowan County Medical Examiner’s office a year to finish its report on Erica’s remains.

According to WBTV, an examination of Erica’s remains showed that “fractures documented at autopsy are consistent with multiple blunt force injuries over a prolonged period, and the growth deficit and low bone density are consistent with malnourishment.

“The description of the decedent just prior to her disappearance suggests she may have been suffering from untreated infection/sepsis, rhabdomyolysis, renal failure, or poisoning at that time, all of which could have caused her death.”

The report continued, “Given the history of physical abuse, and signs of physical abuse present at autopsy, we cannot exclude the possibility of a terminal blunt force injury, suffocation or strangulation.”



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