Parson press conference off; Sheriff answers questions in writing

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has canceled today’s briefing with the media on the Erica Parson’s case, sending this email:
“The media briefing with Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten originally scheduled for 2:00 this afternoon is canceled. The briefing has not been rescheduled at this time, however the questions each news outlet submitted, and the answers are attached in order to assist in your coverage of the one year anniversary since Erica Parsons was reported missing. We appreciate your continued efforts to help us locate Erica and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.
The public is encouraged to notify our department if you have information that can help in our investigation. The Sheriff’s Office and the FBI are offering a combined reward of up to $35,000 for information that leads us to Erica. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation in this investigation.”
Answers to questions were included in the email and are as follows:
Since January, have you made any significant advances or received any new information in the case?
Working with our partners at the FBI & NC SBI, we advance this case, and are making progress on a continuous basis. I cannot provide any details, other than to say yes, we are making progress.
Sheriff’s detectives have told the family they know Erica is dead. What leads you to believe this and what is the status of the physical evidence you recovered from the Parsons home and the shed behind William Parsons home?
The sheriff’s office has no confirmed information that Erica is deceased, and we cannot respond to claims about the investigation. The physical evidence has been processed by the FBI’s lab, and we cannot disclose the results to protect our ongoing investigation.
After investigating this case for one year, do you believe Erica Parsons is dead or alive? Why?
Erica is missing, we are doing everything we can along with the FBI and SBI to find her and determine what happened.
Why has it taken so long to arrest someone?
We are still collecting and analyzing evidence to determine what, if any crime has been committed and by whom.
Do you think we’ll ever find Erica or her remains?
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, NC SBI and the FBI will continue to do everything possible to find Erica.
How difficult is a case like this for you personally and for your office?
Somebody knows what happened to Erica and they have not provided us the information we need to find her.
Have you gotten any closer to than you were a year ago to determining what happened to Erica?
Yes, we have made and continue to make progress on this case and we won’t stop until we find Erica.
Have you continued to receive calls about sightings or any other helpful information in recent months, weeks?
We have not received recent calls about sightings, much of our recent progress on this case comes from the investigative work of our detectives and FBI and SBI agents.
Has there been any more word about the identity of this Nan woman?
What was it exactly that led you to believe she did not exist?
The name and relationship provided to us regarding the name Irene Goodman was not correct.
When was the last time the Sheriff’s Office followed up on a lead in the Parsons’ case?
Our detectives and FBI agents followed a lead within the past several days.
Carolyn Parsons (the biological mother) has indicated that some outside search groups have offered their assistance, but met with resistance from the Sheriff’s Office, can you comment on that?
We are not opposed to using the resources of any agency that can help us locate Erica. We’ve called in the SBI, the FBI, and used K9 search dogs from outside agencies when it would benefit our investigation.
What makes this case so complicated?
Erica was not reported missing to our department for more than a year and half after the last time she was seen. Every investigator knows that when a child is missing, seconds count.
Why haven’t Sandy or Casey Parsons been arrested… if for nothing else because they don’t know where their daughter is?
It’s very easy to say, why hasn’t this person or that person been arrested, again we deal in evidence and facts. There is a new law in North Carolina about how much time you have to report a child missing, but it did not go into effect until December 2013.
Have any outside agencies or groups (SBI, FBI, CUE Center, etc) been able to provide any leads?
Yes, the FBI and SBI are actively working and contributing to this case.
Are there any other persons of interest besides Casey and Sandy Parsons in this case?
We have never named any persons of interest in this investigation. As I said earlier, we are still gathering and analyzing evidence to determine what, if any crime has been committed and by whom.
Based upon interviews and evidence, what is the Sheriff’s Office working theory of what happened to Erica Parsons, and how, if it is, different from what relatives and immediate family members are telling you – and does it constitute a crime?
We cannot lay out the evidence we have gathered to date in this case. Erica is missing. When we locate her; the circumstances we uncover will determine what if any crime has been committed and by whom.
The Sheriff’s Office has said more than once that the Parsons are lying about Erica’s disappearance. They maintain they are telling investigators what they were told by the mysterious “Nan” person, so they aren’t lying, just reiterating what they were told, so if it is a lie, it’s someone else’s lie. What are the specific lies and what are the truths?
The truth is Erica is missing. Certain statements made by the Parsons are inconsistent with the evidence we have gathered. It is not in the best interest of solving this case and finding Erica to release the details of that evidence publicly.
Why, if investigators believe the Parsons are lying, has the Sheriff’s Office never, in our recollection, called Casey and Sandy or other family members “persons of interest” or “suspects” in Erica’s disappearance?  After a year, who is or is not a suspect or person of interest?
In our legal system, just because statements are inconsistent with the evidence doesn’t make someone a person of interest of a suspect in a crime.
At what point do you say that you’ve done all you can do and close the investigation?
We will keep this case open until we find Erica.
What is the very last verified time and place that Erica Parsons was seen alive?
Family members tell us they last saw Erica in November 2011.
What is your reaction to Casey telling a WBTV reporter that Jamie Parsons has apologized for reporting Erica missing and for saying that Erica was mistreated?
He has made no such statement to law enforcement.