Parsons’ attorney addresses allegations in warrants
ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. —Two warrants released Thursday in the case of a missing Rowan County teenager reveal new details about what investigators have found while trying to determine what happened to the girl.
FBI agents met with Casey Parsons' attorney, Carlyle Sherrill, and Sandy Parsons in the case of missing 15-year-old Erica Parsons.
Sandy Parsons left the attorney’s office without answering reporters’ questions. Sherrill did not address questions about the knives or possible bloodstains documented in the warrants. He said the couple is doing everything they can just to find Erica.
Eyewitness News also asked Sherrill about the abuse allegations against the Parsons. According to the warrants, a family member told investigators that Erica was abused and that Casey Parsons couldn’t stand Erica because she reminded her of Carolyn Parsons, Erica’s biological mother and Casey Parsons' former sister-in-law.
Sherrill said the investigators would throw anything in warrants in order to get probably cause to search. He said family members are making up stories.
IMAGES: Search warrants released in Erica Parsons case
The attorney also addressed the financial allegations that the Parsons collected financial aid meant for Erica’s custodians even after she was gone. According to the warrants, the Parsons admitted to collecting state aid for Erica even when she wasn’t living with them.
The State Bureau of Investigation officials that applied for the financial warrant said that “it is believed that the continued desire to utilize the funds, proceeds or financial assistance intended for the care of benefit of Erica Lynn Parsons resulted in the delay or outright denial to report Erica Lynn Parsons missing” in a timely manner.
The warrant went on to say there is “probable cause to believe that a crime, obtaining property by false pretenses has occurred” and that financial records could help in that investigation.
Channel 9 asked the Parsons’ attorney if his clients had been collecting aid even though Erica wasn’t living with them.
“They probably have, since they were legally responsible for Erica,” Sherrill said.
“Even though she wasn’t living with them?” Channel 9 asked.
“Right, they still had the legal responsibility for her; they haven’t transferred that to anybody,” Sherrill said.
Sherrill told Channel 9 that his clients believed that was the law, and they considered Erica would be coming back any time. He said that their collection of that aid protected Erica in maintaining her Medicaid coverage.
As federal and state agents scour the Parsons’ financial records, state officials with the Department of Social Services are unable to confirm if they are investigating how Casey and Sandy Parsons drew thousands of dollars in adoption assistance payments when Erica was nowhere to be found.
According to state officials, parents who adopt a child between the ages of 13 and 18 are eligible for payments up to $634 per month.
If the Parsons received monthly payments for Erica from December 2011 through last month, when she was reported missing, that could mean they received more than $12,000.
Channel 9 asked state officials if they visited the home during that time period to confirm Erica was still living there while the Parsons were cashing their checks. Channel 9 also asked if those adoption assistance payments would have stopped if anyone had reported Erica missing.
State officials said once an adoption is finalized, regular visits do no occur and that they would have continued paying the Parsons even if Erica was reported missing because of a federal mandate that said payments continue until it’s proven the parents are no longer legally or financially responsible for a minor.
When her adoptive brother, James, reported her missing two weeks ago, she had not been seen in nearly two years.
Her adoptive parents told investigators she went to live with her biological grandmother in Asheville, but Rowan County detectives said they found out that wasn’t true.
The search warrant also states that Casey Parsons told detectives that she and her husband went to meet Erica’s biological grandmother, but Casey Parsons was unable to give detectives the location of the meeting or how to contact the grandmother.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has requested an age progression photo of Erica Parsons from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Investigators will release it as soon as it becomes available.