Sheriff: Investigators focused on finding Erica Parsons

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten acknowledges there are many unanswered questions regarding the disappearance of Erica Lynn Parsons, but says his department continues to work with state and federal investigators to “find the answers.”
The Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the State Bureau of Investigation are working together to determine Erica Parsons’ whereabouts. She apparently has not been seen in nearly two years and was reported missing July 30 by her adoptive brother, Jamie.
The adoptive parents, Sandy and Casey Parsons, maintain they let Erica, now 15, live with her grandmother in Asheville. However, investigators and other family members have said the grandmother, Irene Goodman, does not exist. They say the real grandmother, Chloe Goodman, died in 2005.
This is the first time Auten has issued a statement regarding the investigation. The statement was released Tuesday afternoon and comes on the heels of the Parsonses saying they feel more comfortable talking with federal investigators.
The Post spoke with the adoptive parents’ attorney, Carlyle Sherrill on Monday, and he said his clients feel as though local authorities are trying to “pin a crime on them.”
“Each agency has the same goals and objectives to uncover the exact circumstances that led to Erica’s disappearance, to discover where she is right now, and to ensure her safe return,” the sheriff’s statement says.
The Sheriff’s Office and FBI work together to follow leads, and they also send investigators out separately to accomplish the most progress toward finding Erica in the shortest period of time, the statement said.
The statement also said when investigators are not together, they are in constant contact to share information. It is not uncommon in law enforcement investigations for people to be more comfortable speaking to one officer, investigator or agent over another.
“I could give on-camera interviews and statements about this ongoing investigation every day, but that would be counterproductive to finding Erica. The people of Rowan County put their trust in me to uphold the law and to protect the citizens of this community,” Auten said. “There are many unanswered questions at this time, but I will continue to call upon my own department’s resources as well as our state and federal law enforcement partners until we find the answers, until we find Erica.”
He said that unfortunately there are times when “tough questions must be asked, especially to those who are closest to a victim and would have the most relevant information to solving a case.”
The Rowan Sheriff’s Office issued a statement late Monday following requests from media regarding interviews with the Parsons and other key people involved in the investigation. The Sheriff’s Office said Monday its primary focus was to find Erica.
Sandy and Casey Parsons were interviewed early on by investigators with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, who have characterized the two as uncooperative.
Casey and Sandy’s attorney has said he believed his clients have provided information that they believed was true. He said they were not being untruthful on purpose.
Sherrill recently said the key to the investigation lies with Erica’s biological mother. Carolyn Parsons has denied she knows anything about her daughter’s disappearance.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: Facebook: