Official: Parents of missing teen gave false information
By Shavonne Potts
None of the information provided to investigators by the parents of a teenager missing nearly two years has been true, a Rowan County Sheriff's Office official said Wednesday.
The parents' attorney says they haven't intentionally misled authorities and provided information they were given about her.
The State Bureau of Investigation and the FBI have joined the investigation.
Erica Lynn Parsons, 15, has been missing since Nov. 19, 2011. Her older brother, James Parsons, reported her missing on July 30. He told authorities that, when he asked about her absence previously, his parents said she'd gone to live with other family members.
The teen's adoptive parents, Casey Stone Parsons and Sandy Parsons, initially talked with investigators, but became increasingly uncooperative, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff's Capt. John Sifford said the parents initially provided some information and possible leads to the location of Erica Parsons, saying she may be in Asheville with relatives, but investigators “have determined that the information the parents provided was not true.”
“ ... So far, none of the information provided by Casey and Sandy Parsons has been found to be factual, and none of the leads that have been received by the Sheriff's Office have provided the location of Erica Parsons,” Sifford wrote in a news release.
The couple hired local attorney Carlyle Sherrill a few days after detectives began their investigation.
Sherrill told a Post reporter Tuesday the couple had no known relatives in Asheville, but the girl's biological mother had ties to that city.
He said the parents indicated Erica was a “rebellious teenager.” Sherrill said the couple told him they spoke with the teen a while ago and she told them she did not want to return home.
Sherrill said Wednesday the parents were not being intentionally untruthful, but were providing law enforcement with information that was given to them.
“Someone's been lying to them. It's not that they were being dishonest. They were reporting what they were told,” he said.
Sherrill said Erica Parsons was picked up in a car by some people who the Parsons family had met through Erica's birth mother. He said the people gave the Parsons couple false names.
“The information provided to the Sheriff's Office is the information that my clients were informed of at the time,” Sherrill said.
Investigators have followed up on possible locations of Erica Parsons across the state, but so far none of the leads has led to the teen, Sifford said.
Erica is described as small for her age. She is Caucasian, 4 feet 5 inches tall, 85-90 pounds, with a thin build. She has brown hair and brown eyes.
The Rowan Sheriff's Office asks anyone with information about Erica Lynn Parsons to call 1st. Lt. Chad Moose at 704-216-8687 or Investigator Clint Mauldin at 704-216-8710.