Warrants say adoptive parents abused Erica Parsons, investigators testing stains for blood
Erica Parsons, the missing teenage girl from Rowan County, was “routinely abused” by her adoptive parents before she disappeared two years ago, according to a warrant in the case.
Investigators with the SBI and the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office also say in court documents that family members of Casey Parsons, the adoptive mother, had told them “she couldn’t tolerate her and she does not claim Erica as her daughter.”
A day after investigators searched the family’s home, the FBI was questioning Casey Parsons’ husband, Sandy, this morning at the office of lawyer Carlyle Sherrill. Casey Parsons is reported to be a patient at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center; no information is available about her condition or why she was hospitalized.
The warrants describe a troubled childhood and home for Erica. Family members told investigators they often saw bruises on her that the adoptive parents said were caused by other children.
The Parsonses adopted Erica early in her life. The teen’s biological mother, Carolyn Parsons, was married to Sandy Parsons’ brother.
The family members cited in the warrants, who are not named, said “Erica was small for her age and rarely interacted with family or extended family,” and that she was often harshly disciplined by Casey Parsons.
“Family members stated another child in the home told this family member that Casey took a toy gun and broke it while hitting Erica with the toy. Erica was upset because it was her favorite toy,” the warrants say.
At one point, a family member told investigators Erica was sent to live outside the home by Casey Parsons, the warrants say.
“One witness said they took custody of Erica for about eight months after Casey contacted them and said she could not stand to look at Erica. This witness said Casey had brought Erica to their house. They said Erica had bruises on her bottom and Casey said she lost control and beat Erica.
“This witness said that after about eight months, Casey resumed custody of Erica and she was afraid DSS would find out she did not have her and was still getting money for her.”
Casey Parsons also told family members she disliked Erica because she reminded her of the girls’ biological mother.
“They said she could not stand to look at the daughter because she reminded her of Carolyn and she hates Carolyn,” the warrants say.
The Parsonses’ son, James, reported Erica missing last month after he was kicked out of the house. Casey Parsons had said earlier she and her husband asked James to leave the home after he physically assaulted her and pushed his younger brother against a hallway door.
James Parsons told investigators he last saw Erica in November or December 2011. Erica was 14 at the time.
James Parsons said he woke up and realized that Erica wasn’t in the house. He asked his parents where the girl was, and they told him they had taken her to Asheville live with Erica’s grandmother.
The Parsonses told investigators Erica went to live with her biological grandmother, Irene “Nan” Goodman, in Asheville.
Authorities have not been able to verify that claim. The warrants say the Parsonses told investigators they took another daughter with them when they dropped off Erica, but the daughter told investigators in a separate interview that she did not go on that trip.
Also, investigators say Casey Parsons told them she communicated with the grandmother through Facebook, but she was unable to provide any proof.
The warrants also say bank records show the Parsonses continued to cash support payments for Erica’s care after the girl had left the home. The couple told reporters last week they continued to take the payments because Erica’s health insurance was tied to the payments.
Investigators say the couple’s fear over authorities finding out about the payments led to a delay in reporting Erica as “missing in a timely or reasonable time frame.”
Update: Search warrants say investigators seized various electronic items including laptops, cell phones and a desktop computer from the home of Sandy and Casey Parsons.
Investigators also collected:
- Drywall that was cut and removed from a closet area with red stains that are being tested for blood,
- Baseboards from the closet with red stains.
- Flooring that was cut and removed from the doorway of a closet with red stains on the boards.
- Two large knives wrapped in shrink wrap.
- A book about the disappearance of JonBenet Ramsey with notes inside about remodeling a house.
- A plastic bag with magazines about JonBenet Ramsey.
Sandy Parsons left Attorney Carlyle Sherrill’s office about 1:30 p.m. after spending the morning in Sherrill’s office. Sandy Parsens said nothing to reporters as as he got into his vehicle and left.
Sherrill told reporters that Casey Parsons underwent emergency surgery due to complication with colon problems, which the couple has alluded to in previous interviews. Casey Parsons was taken Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Sherrill also said the reason the couple continued to accept support checks from the state in Erica’s name, even after the girl had left the home, was because the adoptive parents continued to have legal responsibility for Erica, the couple wanted to maintain her health benefits and the Parsons expected her to return.