Law closes in on Parsonses
The long list of fraud charges leveled against Sandy and Casey Parsons Wednesday shed no light on the whereabouts of their missing adoptive daughter, Erica Parsons. But the federal indictment brings considerable satisfaction to people who have been following the case for a year with the growing sense that things were not right in the Parsons household.
The husband and wife are presumed innocent until proved guilty, but law enforcement, news organizations and the famed “Dr. Phil” have uncovered enough inconsistencies in their stories to reveal a pattern of lying. Last August, their lawyer at the time Carlyle Sherrill, said as much: “I’ve told them there’s definitely a divergence between the facts and what they’ve been saying.”
Most of the charges against the Parsonses concern benefits they sought and received related to caring for Erica even though she had not lived with them since late 2011. No wonder they never reported her missing; she provided a revenue stream for their household. Their son Jamie finally tipped off authorities about 20 months later — a year ago this week — after a family feud. Searches of the Parsonses’ home and other buildings apparently uncovered no useful clues to Erica’s whereabouts. But authorities kept digging and found enough to warrant Wednesday’s charges.
The charges dispel the fear that authorities had reached a dead end and were moving on. Rumors even circulated that the resignation of one Rowan County investigator who took a job elsewhere signalled the effective end of the search for Erica. But this case goes far beyond the Sheriff’s Office and any individual detective. The FBI and Internal Revenue Service have also been involved. Though the charges filed this week do not deal directly with Erica’s fate, they may put enough pressure on the Parsonses to get new, useful — truthful — information from them. In federal court, they can testify against each other.
The Parsonses will have their day in court. They have court-appointed attorneys and now are out on bond enjoying a freedom many people resent. Where is Erica and what freedom does she know? Do her adoptive parents know or care? Is she even alive? Law enforcement has not found all the answers, but they uncovered enough evidence to file 76 counts against Sandy and Casey Parsons. That’s a good start.