Editorial: Sandy and Casey Parsons -- accountable to no one?
Everyone would like to believe that Erica Parsons turned 15 in February and looks like the computer-generated image supplied Wednesday by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
But the fact that she hasn’t been seen since she was 13 and cannot be found now points to foul play. Set aside the fact that her adoptive parents, Sandy and Casey Parsons, did not report her missing. Who else might have noticed that Erica was gone and started asking questions?
Relatives sounded some alarms. Casey’s sister reported several years ago that Erica was being abused, an accusation that child protection workers were not able to verify. Relatives said Erica went to live with the sister for several months, until Casey said she needed to take her back in case Social Services came looking.
Casey says that’s lies, all lies. In fact, she and her husband said on “Dr. Phil” that their whole family tells lies about them. So a pattern of isolation and distrust emerges. The Parsonses had severed ties with their own family, making it harder for relatives to monitor Erica’s treatment or location.
Erica was not missed by classmates because she didn’t have any. She was supposedly home schooled — in a state that requires very little reporting and oversight for home schools.
Erica was not missed by Social Services because, even though the family got a monthly assistance check for her care, the state only requires that a yearly notice be sent to the parents to determine the child’s status — without a visit from a social worker to verify the parents’ response.
If the Parsonses’ 20-year-old son, Jamie, had not gone to authorities on July 30 to say his father had killed Erica — a charge Sandy Parsons denies — no one would be looking for her now. Marginalized and isolated, Erica Parsons had no friends to turn to, no teachers to confide in, not even a visiting social worker to see if she was dead or alive.
The tragedy of this forgotten little girl’s life is now playing out on a national stage. Her adoptive parents foolishly jumped into the media spotlight with an implausible story, and “Dr. Phil” did a thorough job of poking holes in it. The ridiculousness of their story is overshadowed only by the disturbing fact that Erica is missing, gone for nearly two years before anyone started looking for her — in all likelihood, two years too late.