Erica Parsons went missing in 2011. Her disappearance was finally reported in 2013 by adoptive brother Jamie Parsons. In September 2016, during an ongoing police investigation, Erica’s adoptive father, Sandy Parsons, led investigators to the site of Erica’s remains in Pageland, South Carolina. Now, almost five years after she went missing, Erica Parsons’ adoptive parents, Sandy and Casey Parsons, have been formally charged with first-degree murder.
Erica Parsons was born February 24, 1998, to Carolyn Parsons. As she already had three children and was separated from her husband, Steve Parsons, Carolyn did not feel she would be able to afford to care for Erica. She gave custody of Erica to Steve’s brother Sandy, and his wife Casey, who were residing in Salisbury, South Carolina. Though Carolyn would occasionally visit Erica, the last time she saw her was January 2011.
Erica’s brother Jamie Parsons, Sandy and Casey’s biological son, reported to police on July 30th, 2013 that he had not seen his sister in almost two years. In court, Jamie testified that the last time he had seen Erica Parsons was on November 19th, 2011. When police began the investigation, Sandy and Casey claimed that Erica Parsons was staying with her paternal grandmother, Irene Goodman, in Asheville, SC. They claimed that Erica’s biological father, Billy Goodman, had contacted Erica in 2011 and wanted to forge a relationship with her. However, investigators discovered that there was no Irene Goodman and that Erica’s actual paternal grandmother had died in 2005.
In addition to first-degree murder, Sandy and Casey Parsons were indicted on charges of felony child abuse, felony concealment of death, and felony obstruction of justice. Both Sandy and Casey were already serving sentences for fraud. Those charges came after it was revealed that the couple was still accepting federal benefits for Erica after her disappearance. Casey Parsons was also referred to as a “serial swindler” by U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder. Casey had previously run a scam where she posted items on eBay, took payments for them, but never delivered the items in question. She had also taken $10,000 to serve as a surrogate for a woman named Amy Miller. However, Casey claimed to Miller that she had miscarried, then tried to sell the baby to her sister, Ashley. Ashley found Miller online and notified her of the situation. Miller was eventually able to take custody of the child after getting the police involved.
During Casey and Sandy’s sentencing trial for their fraud charges, Ashley testified that Erica had suffered ongoing abuse at the hands of her sister. In her testimony, Ashley claimed that she had seen Erica covered in bruises during a time that the girl was staying with her. Ashley claimed Casey had told her Erica needed to be out of the house so that she “wouldn’t kill her.” Ashley also said that Casey had told her that she could not “stand the sight of [Erica’s] face.” Ashley added that even though Erica called Casey and Sandy “mom” and “dad,” Casey told her that she was never to call them that, and to only refer to them using their first names. Jamie Parsons also testified that there had been ongoing abuse from his parents toward Erica during the time she lived with them. In addition, Jamie and his sister Brooke had also abused Erica. He claimed that Erica was forced to sleep in a closet and fed canned dog food. He also testified that Casey would often bend Erica’s fingers back resulting in broken bones. She would then make her own casts for Erica rather than taking her to medical professionals.
On the last night in 2011 that Jamie saw Erica Parsons alive, he testified that she was standing in the corner, saying “She didn’t look too good – she looked like a zombie.” He claimed that she was having trouble breathing. When she told Casey that she wasn’t feeling well, Casey reportedly told her to “shut the f*** up.” After this encounter, Jamie said he went to bed. The next morning, his parents and Erica were gone. When Casey and Sandy returned, Erica was not with them. Casey and Sandy told Jamie that Erica had gone to her grandmother’s. Jamie testified that his father looked “like he was about to throw up.” He also said that his mother looked normal. Neither Jamie nor Brooke have been charged, but Jamie told Fox 46 in Charlotte “I don’t deserve to be over the guilt, it deserve [sic] to eat away at me for the rest of my life. I mean I allowed my sister to die.”
In August of 2016, while serving his eight-year prison sentence for fraud, Sandy Parsons confessed to investigators that he knew where Erica’s body had been buried. In a search warrant released in November 2016, authorities stated that Sandy had also admitted to routinely abusing Erica by “locking [her] in a closet, beating her with belt buckle, bending her fingers back and choking her.” Dr. Cynthia Brown from the UNC School of Medicine said Erica’s treatment would be characterized as “child torture.” On September 27, 2016, Sandy led investigators to a field in Pageland, SC, where he and Casey buried Erica’s remains. An autopsy performed on the recovered remains indicated that Erica Parsons could have been strangled or killed by “blunt force.” Her bones also indicated that she was malnourished. “There are people that think the Parsons should have already been hung on the square, and they’ll have their day in court,” said Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten, “we’ll let the jury decide their fate.”
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