Family of Erica Parsons: We just want her home
by DIANA RUGG
ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. -- The woman who feels like a "big sister" to Erica Parsons is joining the chorus of voices questioning where she is.
Crystal Owensby, 25, lived with Erica on and off for two years while Carolyn Parsons, Erica's biological mother, lived with her father.
Erica was born while Carolyn lived with Owensby's family. Owensby was 10 at the time, but her father is not Erica's father.
"She was a happy baby," recalled Owensby. "I remember when dad would bring her in there, we would cuddle up and go straight to sleep. She was a really good baby."
Erica was adopted by Casey and Sandy Parsons shortly after she turned two, but went back to live with Owensby and Carolyn Parsons for a short time after that, before Casey and Sandy Parsons took her back.
Carolyn Parsons shares a last name with Casey and Sandy because she was once married to Sandy's brother, before Erica was born.
Owensby said Carolyn Parsons lived with her father for about five years, and became like a mother to her. The two still have a mother-daughter relationship today.
Owensby said Carolyn Parsons always regretted giving up Erica, though she said at the time she couldn't take care of her.
"She's thinking about if she hadn't put Erica up for adoption, it wouldn't be like this right now," she said, "because Erica would be here."
Erica Parsons was last seen in November 2011, but was only recently reported missing.
Owensby said Carolyn Parsons has been asked by law enforcement not to talk to the media, but is upset about Erica's disappearance.
"I've never seen Carolyn as hurt as she is right now," she said.
Owensby worries about what may have happened to Erica too.
"I've heard she's been sold, I've heard she could be dead, that the adoptive family could have killed her because of the knives they found," she wonders. "I really don't know."
As Sandy Parson cleared candles from his front lawn Sunday afternoon, he had only one comment about Erica for an NBC Charlotte photographer: "She's not dead."
That doesn't reassure Owensby, who broke down crying when she thought about the two-year-old girl she loved like a little sister.
"I hope she's out there, I really do," she said between tears. "We want her back home safe and sound."