‘Morally bankrupt’ indictment of couple isn’t enough

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 29, 2015

The federal judge who sentenced Sandy and Casey Parsons to eight and 10 years in prison, respectively, Friday had a lot of things right.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder said he believed the couple from Rowan County killed their adoptive daughter, Erica, or did something to get rid of her. Given the circumstances around her life and disappearance, what other conclusion could he reach?

Schroeder also described Sandy and Casey Parsons as swindlers. Fraudulently collecting government money for Erica even though the girl was not in their home or care for a long time was crime enough to send them to prison.

They received adoption assistance, Medicaid, Social Security and Food and Nutrition Services benefits for Erica after she had ceased to live with them, and they also used the U.S. mail to commit the fraud.

Fraud already was an established pattern with this couple. Acting as a surrogate in 2000, Casey Parsons committed fraud by telling Amy Miller, a woman in Michigan, that the baby Casey was carrying for her had died in a miscarriage. Casey Parsons had not miscarried, however, and she tried to sell the baby instead to Casey’s sister, Robin Ashley.

Ashley thankfully tracked down Miller online and, with law enforcement’s help, Miller was able to receive the baby soon after its birth.

But it’s even worse with these two, Casey and Sandy. According to court testimony, the couple participated, along with their biological children, in the constant physical abuse of Erica when the girl was living with the family.

Schroeder summed things up succinctly. He singled out Casey Parsons as a “serial swindler” and “morally bankrupt.” Right and right.

In court proceedings, Casey came across as the mastermind in defrauding the government and even cheating people out of money for items the couple were selling on eBay. But Sandy was just as bad, the judge suggested. The pattern with him was to always go along, whether it be abuse, fraud or just plain lies.

The one thing Judge Schroeder got wrong was when he concluded Erica no longer exists. The worst thing that could happen, while the Parsonses spend the better part of the next decade in jail, is for Erica to be forgotten.

She would be 17 now. There has been no trace of her since at least July 30, 2013, but Erica Parsons has to remain alive as a reminder of what horrible things people can do.

Wherever she is, Erica never should be neglected again.

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