Judge delays decision on custody of Parsons children
A judge has yet to rule on whether Sandy and Casey Parsons, the adoptive parents of Erica Parsons, a Salisbury teenager who has been missing for two years, will regain custody of their two youngest children.
The couple, who have been embroiled in a custody case for a little more than a month, for now will have to wait until January to find out whether their children — Sadie and Toby — will remain with their grandparents or be reunited with Casey and Sandy.
No one knew Erica, 15, was missing until her adoptive brother, James “Jamie” Parsons told law enforcement he had not seen his sister since November 2011. Jamie’s conversation with Rowan Sheriff’s detectives ignited a nearly five-month investigation into Erica’s disappearance.
His parents have said they allowed Erica to live with her biological grandmother, Irene “Nan” Goodman. The two said they dropped a then 13-year-old Erica off at a Mooresville fast food restaurant to meet Goodman. The Parsonses said they believed Goodman was taking Erica to live in Asheville.
Detectives and family have said there is no Irene Goodman. The Parsonses have now said they’ve been duped into believing Goodman was the teenager’s grandmother. Casey and Sandy have not been charged in Erica’s disappearance. The youngest of the couples’ children, Sadie and Toby, were removed from the home the same week Erica was reported missing and Rowan Social Services placed them in the care of Casey’s mother and father, Shirley and James Stone. Casey and Sandy have been allowed to see their children during weekly supervised visits.
The Stones have said they do not want their grandchildren returned to Casey and Sandy and hope a judge agrees.
District Court Judge Lillian Jordan early on closed the courtroom to everyone except family and those involved in the case. The courtroom remained closed for the duration of the proceedings. Today, the judge said a final decision won’t be reached until January and for now the children will stay with the Stones.
Shirley Stone did not comment following the hearing. Angela Laubscher, Casey’s aunt, did speak to media gathered outside of the courthouse.
“The kids are going to remain in the home where they are now and then they will come back in January and kind of wrap things up,” she said.
Laubscher said she didn’t know why the judge decided to wait another month.
She said the family feels good that the children will remain with the Stones for now. Laubscher also said she feels as though the children should stay with Shirley and James Stone.
The family still wants justice for Erica, Laubscher said, and they miss Erica.
Laubscher said it’s very difficult sitting in the courtroom, “because we’re all family, we love them, we care about them, but we want justice done. We just wish they would let us know where Erica is.”
She hopes for a decision that will mean the children will be permanently with their grandparents, but at the same time is nervous about awaiting the outcome.
Family members have said they witnessed repeated mental and physical abuse by Casey and Sandy against Erica, which the two deny.
According to WBTV, the judge did find enough evidence to believe Erica was abused before she went missing.
When asked if the hearing was over during a lunch break, Sandy Parsons replied, “it ain’t over until hell freezes over.”
Jamie Parsons has maintained it was hard to testify against his parents, but he felt as though he were standing up for Erica. His siblings, Brooklyn “Brook” and Sandy Jr., have not spoken with media.
Casey’s sister, Tammy Gray, has also said she hopes the children are not returned to her brother-in-law and sister.
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Erica Parsons is asked to contact investigators at the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at 704-216-8700 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.