Authorities: Planned rally by Erica Parsons’ biological mother can’t happen

The biological mother of missing teen Erica Lynn Parsons has organized a rally demanding answers from investigators regarding the child’s disappearance.

But authorities say Carolyn Parsons can’t hold the event because she didn’t get a permit.


Erica, 15, has been missing since November 2011, but was reported missing nearly July 30 by her adoptive brother, James Parsons. The teen’s adoptive parents, Casey and Sandy Parsons, have said they let Erica go to live with a woman they knew as her paternal biological grandmother, Irene “Nan” Goodman.

The Parsonses say Erica moved to Asheville with Goodman and they have since lost contact with her.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office is in the midst of investigating the teen’s disappearance along with help from the SBI and federal investigators.

Carolyn Parsons, who used to be married to Sandy Parsons’ brother, gave Erica to the Parsonses when she was an infant.

Carolyn Parsons has created an event page on social networking site Facebook where she’s calling for a rally on Monday outside the county justice center. She says the event will take place from 9 a.m. until noon, but authorities say it won’t happen at all.

Any group of two or more that gathers must obtain a permit from the Salisbury Police Department.

Salisbury Police Capt. Melonie Thompson receives applications and issues those permits. Thompson said as of Friday, Parsons had not applied for a permit.

A permit must be obtained within three business days prior to the event. The earliest Carolyn Parsons could have her event is Thursday, said Police Capt. Shelia Lingle.

Lingle said if a group gathers without a permit, the event would be shut down for unlawful assembly.

Thompson has reached out to Carolyn Parsons regarding the permitting process, however, the event page remains.

According to a Facebook time stamp, Carolyn created the event Thursday. A friend on the page says the reason for the “meetup” is to make sure the investigation does not “become a cold case.” Another friend says investigations take time and just because law enforcement doesn’t give information right now doesn’t mean they are not working.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said this afternoon in a statement that investigators are not only receiving tips and leads to follow, but they are also hearing from concerned citizens.

“While investigators cannot speak about details of this investigation to protect the integrity of the case. I can tell you that police investigations are not as clear-cut as they may seem to the public and should not be judged based on a timeline or ‘quick arrests or charges,’ ” a department spokesman said.

“The goal of any investigation is to determine if a crime has been committed and, if so, build a case on each and every law violated, and gather the evidence needed for a positive prosecutory outcome at trial. There are many layers to investigations and it can take time to thoroughly cover and exhaust each lead and each level,” the statement said.

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