Rowan sheriff: No deal made with Sandy Parsons; Erica Parsons dead long before reported missing

Published 3:22 pm Monday, October 3, 2016

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten said today authorities have made no deal with Sandy Parsons, the adoptive father who led investigators to the remains of missing girl Erica Parsons.

Auten held a press conference just a few days after skeletal remains found in a remote area of South Carolina were positively identified as Erica’s.

While investigators had initially hoped to find Erica alive after her adoptive brother Jamie Parsons reported her missing in July 2013, Auten said Monday they believe she was dead long before that report was made.

Auten took no questions following the press conference regarding the investigation, but he did provide a brief summary of the case including dispelling some rumors. He also said Lyerly Funeral Home has donated its services to provide Erica a funeral and West Lawn Memorial Park has donated a plot for her burial.

Arrangements are incomplete. The public can donate to assist with the cost by giving to Prevent Child Abuse Rowan and earmarking the donation with Erica’s Angel.

One rumor Auten said he wanted to dispel was about the site where Erica’s remains were found. He said the Pageland, S.C., property has never been rented or owned by any member of the Parsons family.

Rowan authorities, along with agents from the FBI, SBI and SLED,  found Erica Parsons’ remains in a shallow grave. Sandy Parsons took investigators to the site last Tuesday and left upset and crying, according to Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks.

Brooks said after Parsons took investigators to the area along a dirt road, cadaver dogs alerted in the very area where Erica was buried. Sandy Parsons was taken away, and excavation of the site began.

Brooks said the first piece of evidence was found within an hour, but crews continued there for another 10 hours.

Rowan investigators say the Parsonses regularly abused Erica, including punching her and at one time breaking her fingers.

According to Jamie Parsons, his parents encouraged his younger siblings to also abuse Erica. He said his mother said if Erica did not play with them, they should pull her hair. Jamie Parsons also said he abused Erica for over 10 years.

Jamie said he stopped when he was 16 years old because he didn’t want to hit her anymore.

When Jamie Parsons reported Erica missing in 2013, he told authorities he hadn’t seen her since late 2011.

Sandy and Casey Parsons are currently serving federal prison sentences for fraud related to Erica’s disappearance. Casey Parsons pleaded guilty and is serving 10 years. In October 2014, Sandy was convicted on 43 counts of a 76-count indictment.

Investigators say the couple received government-funded adoption assistance, Medicaid, Social Security, and Food and Nutrition Services benefits intended for Erica’s care when she was no longer living in their household. Officials said the couple used the mail to commit the fraud.

The couple have not been charged in her death. The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office will work with Rowan District Attorney Brandy Cook to make that determination.

See more in Tuesday’s Post.