Adoptive brother: Erica Parsons endured constant abuse
Published 11:32 am Wednesday, February 18, 2015
The adoptive brother of teenager Erica Lynn Parsons testified in federal court today that the missing Rowan County teenager endured constant physical abuse.
Jamie Parsons testified during a sentencing hearing on federal fraud charges for Sandy and Casey Parsons, the adoptive parents of Erica.
Sandy and Casey Parsons face prison for continuing to receive benefits for Erica after she went missing in 2011.
Jamie Parsons reported Erica missing in July 2013. Sandy and Casey Parsons have not been charged in Erica’s disappearance.
Prosecutors have so far today called several family members: Janet Parsons, stepmother of Sandy Parsons; Robin Ashley, Casey Parsons’ older sister; and their son, Jamie.
Jamie Parsons testified that both his parents physically abused Erica, and so did their children. He said Sandy punched Erica and Casey once broke the girl’s fingers bending them back as punishment.
He testified that Erica had a bald spot on the top of her head where scabs had formed and healed from being struck in the head.
Jamie said Erica ate from a dog bowl when not fed by her adoptive parents, that they locked her in a closet and left her behind when they went on vacations.
The court is in recess for lunch. Jamie is scheduled to continue testifying this afternoon.
Prosecutors also put a woman on the stand who testified she hired Casey Parsons as a surrogate to carry her child. Casey told her she had lost the baby, then tried to sell the child to someone else, she testified.
Sandy and Casey Parsons were arrested in July on a 76-count indictment that included mail fraud, tax fraud and identity theft. Court documents said the couple continued to receive adoption and health care benefits for Erica, who had not been living with them.
Erica had not been seen in nearly two years prior to law enforcement becoming involved and opening an investigation into her disappearance. No one has seen the teen since November 2011, but she was reported missing in July 2013.
The couple’s biological son, Jamie, told Rowan County Sheriff’s Office investigators he had not seen his sister in some time and initially pointed the finger at his parents, alleging they were responsible for her disappearance.
Casey and Sandy maintain they allowed Erica to leave their home and live with a woman who claimed to be Erica’s biological grandmother, Irene “Nan” Goodman. The Parsonses have said the woman they knew as Nan lived in Asheville, and Erica was with her.
Investigators and members of the Goodman family have said Irene Goodman does not exist. The Parsonses have not been charged in Erica’s disappearance.
Federal indictments say the Parsonses received government-funded adoption assistance, Medicaid, Social Security, and Food and Nutrition Services benefits for a dependent, Erica, after she ceased to live with them, and used the mail to commit the fraud.
In October, Sandy Parsons was found guilty of one count conspiracy to defraud the government, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine; one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory sentence of two years, consecutive to any other sentence and a $250,000 fine; one count false statement to a government agency, which carries a maximum sentence of two years and a $250,000 fine; 20 counts of theft of government funds, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine and 20 counts of mail fraud, which carries a maximum of 20 years and a $250,000 fine.
Sandy is expected to go to federal prison for at least two years.
Casey Parsons accepted a plea agreement in September. She pleaded guilty to 15 counts of the 76-count indictment. She faces a prison term of one to five years in each count. The court dismissed the other counts.
A $50,000 reward is still in place for information about the disappearance of Erica Lynn Parsons. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, 1st. Lt. Chad Moose at 704-216-8687 or Investigator Sara Benfield at 704-216-8739.
Follow reporter Shavonne Walker (@salpostpotts) on Twitter and check back for updates.