Online chats contradict parents’ story about missing teen Erica Parsons
Transcripts of online conversations obtained by the Post show that missing teen Erica Parsons’ adoptive mother was giving updates about her life during a time she now says the teen was missing.
The messages were sent to Erica’s biological mother, Carolyn Parsons.
In March, adoptive mother Casey Parsons wrote that Erica Parsons was taking driver’s education. Later that month, she wrote that Erica and another daughter, Brook, had gone to Asheville with a relative.
Casey and Sandy Parsons, Erica’s adoptive father, have told authorities and said in interviews they haven’t seen Erica since November 2011 and last spoke with her by phone in February 2012.
Erica Parsons was reported missing on July 30 by her adoptive brother, Jamie.
Casey and Sandy Parsons have maintained Erica is with her biological grandmother, Irene Goodman, in Asheville. Authorities say that’s not true, and other family members say there is no such woman.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, state and federal authorities are investigating.
The online conversations began in April 2010 when Casey Parsons reached out to Carolyn via social networking site Facebook.
“I thank God everyday you gave us Erica. I know that was very hard but at that time you made the right choice,” Casey told Carolyn.
Casey went on to say she would never speak any disparaging words to Erica about Carolyn.
In May 2010, Carolyn responds to Casey saying it was hard to give up Erica and she’d love to see her “when the time is right.”
Carolyn said she would even be willing to be introduced to Erica as a friend of the family, under a different name, if it was necessary.
Casey said she didn’t want her husband to know she was communicating with Carolyn. In the conversations, Carolyn asks for updated pictures of Erica, which Casey eventually provided. In January 2011, Casey said she believed Erica was ready to meet Carolyn. Casey told Carolyn she wanted Erica to “see with her own eyes that you love her and you didn’t give her up because you didn’t want her.”
Casey, Sandy and Erica met Carolyn at What-A-Burger in Mooresville, where Carolyn lived in 2011.
In February 2011, a message was sent to Carolyn from Casey Parsons’ account. The sender said she was Erica and that she did not want any more contact with her biological mother. Erica said she didn’t think of Carolyn as her mother. She asked that Carolyn not write Casey again.
“I love my mom and I want (to) thank you for giving birth to me and giving me to some wonderful people,” Erica said.
The teen then said she’d like to meet her birth father and would like to see Carolyn again when she was 20 years old. Carolyn responded that she loved Erica and wanted to get to know her. A few days later, Erica told Carolyn that Casey was the only mother she wanted.
In a November 2011 message, Casey told Carolyn that Erica went camping with Tammy, Casey’s sister. More than a year passed before the next time Casey responded to Carolyn’s messages, in January of this year.
On Feb. 24, Casey says she’s not sure why “all these rumors are floating around about where she is.” Casey goes on to say Erica has spent some time with Casey’s aunt, who is helping the teen with her school work.
In March, Casey tells Carolyn that Erica is taking driver’s education and even jokes that Carolyn should stay clear of the road.
On March 20, Casey messaged Carolyn for the last time and said Erica and the Parsonses’ daughter, Brook, are in Asheville with Casey’s aunt.
The Post has repeatedly reached out to Carolyn Parsons, but she has not responded to phone calls. Carolyn did confirm to WBTV’s David Whisenant the accuracy of the conversations.
A source close to the investigation also confirmed the legitimacy of the exchanges.
Carlyle Sherrill, the Parsonses’ attorney, told a Post reporter the couple were duped into believing Irene Goodman was Erica’s biological grandmother and lived in Asheville.
“The last time anyone saw Erica, she went off with Nan. Nan came to Casey and Sandy, I believe, through Carolyn,” Sherrill said.
He said when the Parsonses met Irene Goodman, she knew “everything” about them.
“I feel Carolyn Parsons knows where they got it. I don’t know what she’s told anyone. I still think she’s the key,” Sherrill said of Carolyn Parsons.
The attorney told the Post in early interviews that the Asheville connection came from Carolyn Parsons, Erica’s birth mother. He also said the Parsonses were not unintentionally being untruthful, but were given wrong information.
The Parsonses and their attorney have since said the grandmother contacted them through Facebook. However they could not provide any record of such a Facebook account.
Authorities and family members have said Irene Goodman does not exist. Sherrill said Thursday it is clear Goodman is “not who she’s been represented to be. It’s pretty clear she’s not Erica’s paternal grandmother,” he said.
Sherrill said the biggest part of the conversations were how much Erica loved Sandy and Casey Parsons.
When asked if the couple were to be charged with murder would he continue to represent them, Sherrill asked, “How would they pay for it?”
A Post reporter asked Sherrill if the couple were paying him or if he was not charging them for his services. But Sherrill said he could not discuss his payment arrangements with his clients.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: www.twitter.com/salpostpotts Facebook: www.facebook.com/Shavonne.SalisburyPost.