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

Hugh Fisher/For the Salisbury Post ¬ Carolyn Parsons, center, biological mother of missing Salisbury teen Erica Parsons, listens to the Rev. Fred Merry, right, during Sunday's candlelight vigil on the steps of the Rowan County Courthouse.
Hugh Fisher/For the Salisbury Post ¬ Carolyn Parsons, center, biological mother of missing Salisbury teen Erica Parsons, listens to the Rev. Fred Merry, right, during Sunday's candlelight vigil on the steps of the Rowan County Courthouse.

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. And Carolyn says she’s now planning to return home to Louisiana.


Erica, 15, has been missing since November 2011, but wasn’t reported gone until July 30 by her adoptive brother, James Parsons. The teen’s adoptive parents, Casey and Sandy Parsons, have said they let Erica go 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, Stevie, gave Erica to the Parsonses as an infant. Casey and Sandy later adopted Erica when the child was 2.

Carolyn Parsons has created an event page on social networking site Facebook, where she’s calling for a rally 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 before 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 on Facebook remains up.

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 out doesn’t mean investigators are not working.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said Friday 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,’ ” said spokesman Capt. John Sifford.

“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.

The local, state and federal agencies are working on Erica’s disappearance.

“No lead, no piece of information we receive is too small to follow as we attempt to locate Erica and fully explain the circumstances regarding her disappearance. We understand there is a great interest in this investigation, it is certainly an emotional situation for not only the public who wants a positive outcome and justice, but for those members of law enforcement who are involved as well,” Sifford said.

Repeated attempts at an interview with Carolyn Parsons have been unsuccessful. She did tell a Post reporter she intends to leave Rowan County today and head back to Louisiana. She is, however, still committed to searching for Erica.

“I’m not done looking for my daughter,” Parsons said.

The statement said the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office assures the community that many resources are being dedicated to locate Erica, and investigators will not rest until Erica is found.

Anyone with information on Erica’s whereabouts is encouraged to call the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at 704-216-8700.

Notice about comments:

Salisburypost.com is pleased to offer readers the ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. Salisburypost.com cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not Salisburypost.com. If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Full terms and conditions can be read here.

Do not post the following:

  • Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
  • Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
  • Personal attacks, insults or threats.
  • The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
  • Comments unrelated to the story.