Dr Phil part two: Lie detector test results on show not good for Erica’s adoptive father

A computer generated age progression photo of Erica Lynn Parsons, courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
A computer generated age progression photo of Erica Lynn Parsons, courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

A polygraph expert says Sandy Parsons, the adoptive father of missing teen Erica Parsons, was “strongly deceptive” in a lie detector test he took during a taping of the “Dr. Phil” show that aired Wednesday.

Casey Parsons did not take a lie detector test in the taped segment shown Wednesday.


She and Sandy Parsons, along with their attorney Carlyle Sherrill, went to California a week ago for the taping. The couple talked with talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw about Erica, who has been missing for nearly two years.

A Post reporter called Sherrill’s office for comment, but the attorney declined an interview.

The talk show aired the first of its two-part special on Tuesday. The second part was shown Wednesday on WSOC-TV channel 9.

Erica was last seen in Rowan County in December 2011, but wasn’t reported missing until July 30 when her adoptive brother James contacted authorities.

The Parsonses contend Erica went to live with her biological grandmother in Asheville, a woman they know as Irene Goodman.

They told Dr. Phil they’re not concerned for her safety and didn’t report her missing because they still believe she is with Goodman, who they call “Nan.”

But the couple say they haven’t spoken to Goodman or Erica since February 2012 and can’t provide law enforcement any way to contact the woman. Even their attorney said on the show that their story has “a hole in it.”

Polygraph results

The polygraph expert, Jack Trimarco, said he asked Sandy Parsons two questions: whether he deliberately caused Erica’s disappearance and whether he had a plan to cause her disappearance.

Sandy answered no to both questions. Trimarco told Dr. Phil the polygraph results showed the father “strongly deceptive” in answering both questions.

Sherrill said on the show that he thinks Sandy Parsons may have misunderstood the questions, since he did take Erica to meet her grandmother before she disappeared.

But Trimarco said he fully explained the questions to Sandy Parsons and told him that if Erica had gone to live with her grandmother and was safe, he could answer “no” to both questions truthfully.

“Do you think he knows something he’s not telling?” Dr. Phil asked Trimarco.

“I do,” Trimarco said.

On the show, Casey Parsons agreed to take the lie detector test but did not because she said she was in pain from recent surgery, which could have affected the results. She was offered a chance to take her pain medication and take the polygraph later, but refused, the talk show host said.

A polygraph records physiological changes in the body, including blood pressure, breathing rate, perspiration and pulse. In North Carolina, polygraphs are not admissible in court. The polygraph expert, who is also a former FBI agent, told Dr. Phil polygraph exams are allowed in federal court.

Sandy and Casey Parsons refused when Dr. Phil offered to have the couple return to the show or appear via satellite when the polygraph results were revealed.

Sherrill appeared via satellite.

Dr. Phil asked why the two declined to be present for the test results and Sherrill said they were in a hurry to return home to North Carolina.

The talk show host asked the attorney if he knew why his clients refused a satellite interview. Sherrill simply said no.

At one point during the show, Sherrill admitted there is “certainly a hole” in the Parsonses’ story — specifically the fact they can’t produce evidence of the biological grandmother’s existence.

“I’ve told them there’s definitely a divergence between the facts and what they’ve been saying,” Sherrill said.

Gestational surrogate

In the latter half of the program Wednesday, the talk show host featured the mother of a child Casey Parsons carried as a surrogate. She claims the Parsonses tried to keep the child and sell it to someone else.

Dr. Phil disguised the woman, but the Post has a copy of the 2002 court agreement between the Parsonses and the parents, Vern and Amy Miller of LaPeer, Mich.

The Millers and the Parsonses agreed that any embryo that resulted in a baby would be the legal, natural child of the Millers, the civil papers said.

Amy Miller told Dr. Phil that Casey Parsons told her that six weeks into the pregnancy, she had a miscarriage and lost the baby.

But Miller said she learned through a relative of Casey Parsons that the Parsonses planned to keep the child and were taking money from two other couples who wanted it.

Miller said she and her husband sent a letter threatening legal action, and the Parsonses relented. She said Casey Parsons wrote a letter of apology.

The Millers have the child, who is now 11 years old.

Casey told Dr. Phil the parents wanted her to terminate the pregnancy because they only wanted a boy and believed she was carrying a girl.

Miller said that’s a lie.

“Casey set out to steal our child, there’s no doubt about it,” Miller said on the show.

The Post contacted attorney Shelley Ballard, who represented the Millers in the surrogacy matter, but she declined to comment. Ballard was a practicing attorney in Charlotte at the time of the surrogacy but is now with a law firm in Michigan.

Prior to the surrogacy process, Casey Parsons underwent a tubal ligation procedure in 1995 to prevent any future pregnancies. She also received medication to suppress her ovarian function in preparation for the surrogacy procedure. After giving birth to the Millers’ baby, a boy, in May 2002, Casey had the tubal ligation reversed in Mexico and went on to have two other children, Sadie and Toby.

The Rowan Department of Social Services have placed Sadie and Toby, the two youngest of the Parsonses’ biological children, with Casey’s mother, Shirley Stone, according to Casey.

Attempts to reach Shirley Stone were unsuccessful. Phone numbers for Casey’s mother, and sister, Robin Ashley, are no longer working.

Rewards offered

On Wednesday, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an age-progressed image of what Erica Parsons might look like at 15 years old. The organization created the image using photos of Erica and her biological parents, Carolyn Parsons and Billy Goodman.

Dr. Phil issued a plea asking anyone knew the whereabouts of Erica to come forward. He also asked for the grandmother, Irene Goodman, the half sister, Kelly, and Billy Goodman’s girlfriend, Janice “Strawberry” Jackson, to come forward as well. Kelly and Jackson, according to Casey, were there the day she dropped Erica off with Goodman for the final time.

Dr. Phil offered a $5,000 reward for information that leads to Erica being found safe.

After the show aired, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office offered an additional $10,000 reward that leads to the location or return of Erica Parsons.

Anyone with information about Erica Lynn Parsons’ whereabouts is asked to contact Lt. Chad Moose at 704-216-8687 or investigator Clint Mauldin at 704-216-8710.

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