SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - As federal investigators dig into the case of a Salisbury teenager, reported missing nearly two years after she was last seen, the missing girl's adoptive mother had to be hospitalized.
Erica Parsons, 15, was reported missing on July 30th after she was last seen by family members in November 2011.
Her adoptive mother, Casey Parsons, is listed in good condition at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem after being admitted on Thursday.
"She had a complication with her medical problems," attorney Carlyle Sherrill told WBTV's David Whisenant. "It's having to deal with her stomach or colon problems, had to have emergency surgery."
Federal agents were also seen at Sherrill's office interviewing Erica's adoptive father, Sandy Parsons, for about four hours on Thursday.
Deputies also served the Parsons with a juvenile summons from the Rowan County Department of Social Services on Friday. The family attorney says the summons has to do with the couple's two youngest children. Carlyle Sherrill said the children stayed with their maternal grandmother after their 20-year-old brother reported Erica missing.
On Friday, investigators were back in the neighborhood talking with neighbors.
The Parsons' attorney disputes allegations detailed in search warrants made public on Thursday morning, saying the Parsons are doing everything they can to help find Erica.
"They're just looking for anything they can find that will help. We want to help any way we can to find Erica," Sherrill told WBTV. "Take it for what it's worth, anything anybody says they can stick in there to get probable cause, we don't put any trust in that at all."
Investigators completed an intensive search of the Parsons' property, along the 200-block of Miller Chapel Road, late Wednesday night.
After digging in the back yard, members of the SBI and FBI spent several hours testing soil density, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation.
Investigators executed the search warrant around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. After nearly 12-hours in the home, federal agents took several items to send off for analysis.
According to investigators, Erica was reported missing in July by her step-brother, James, who says he hasn't seen her since November 2011.
James Parsons told police that when he asked where Erica was, his parents told him that she had gone to live with other family members.
Sherrill told WBTV that investigators questioned Erica's adoptive mother on Wednesday.
He said investigators did not indicate that they believe the teenager is dead. He says the search warrant suggests "investigators are looking for anything they can find that can be involved in a missing persons investigations."
One neighbor told WBTV that a flock of investigators arrived at the home and started collecting evidence.
They say investigators went into the house, the Parsons' vehicle, a converted garage apartment and tore parts of a new deck off of the back of the home.
"I think it's long overdue, this girl's been missing for a long time," said neighbor Vickie Yates. "I just wish somebody would have reported it a lot sooner. Our chances of finding her would be a lot better."
Yates says the situation left the entire neighborhood shaken.
"It's got everybody fearful, we had no idea this girl was missing," she told WBTV. "It's such a small community - how could nobody know what's going on with your neighbors? It makes us want to reach out more to our neighbors and learn more about our neighbors."
"I really hope that they find her alive and safe but it scares me tremendously that they're not going to though," said neighbor Patti Miller.
For most of the day on Wednesday patrol cars blocked access to Miller Chapel Road. Local residents who lived on the road or in several of the developments just off the road had to show and ID in order pass through the road block.
The Parsons sat down with WBTV's Coleen Harry nearly a week after Erica was reported missing and made a plea for their adopted daughter to get in touch with them.
When asked if she believes Erica is okay, Casey Parsons said "Yes I believe she's okay. I think she's scared to call home and say I'm alright. I think they're telling her she's going to get in trouble."
Deputies say Erica's adoptive parents initially talked with investigators, but became "increasingly uncooperative."
"It's hard," Casey Parsons told WBTV. "It's a nightmare – worst thing you can think of."
Casey and Sandy Parsons say they didn't do anything wrong. They say when Erica went for a three-week Christmas visit with her paternal grandmother – they believed she would be fine.
They say when Erica called two months later to say she was wasn't coming back - they accepted it.
"That makes me furious, Yates said. "Because if my child is gone two hours - I'm wondering where they are at - and they're grown."
Erica's biological mother disputes this claim - arguing that both of Erica's grandmothers have been dead for at least five years.
The Parsons say when Erica's brother, James, went to investigators and said something was wrong, detectives showed up at their house.
"[Police said] we had killed Erica and buried her in our backyard," Casey Parsons said. "We told them 'Go do what you want to the house. Look. Go dig the yard up. Erica is not in this yard. Erica is fine. She's with Nan - she's with her grandmother'."
The Parsons say social workers took their two youngest children.
"We had done nothing wrong to these kids or Erica. Nothing," Casey Parsons said. "Even the social worker wrote on the paper we had nothing, there was nothing wrong with us to put our kids in danger."
The Rowan County Sheriff's Office says investigators are also working the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
"It's just an unusual case that we don't often see. The delay in the reporting is something that we don't see very often like this so we're very concerned about this child's welfare," said Robert G. Lowery, Jr.
The Sheriff's Office has requested the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children create an age progression photo of Erica to more accurately depict what she may look like at age 15. The photo of Erica that was released to the public was taken when she was around 13-years-old.
Sherill says the Parsons are doing everything they can to help find Erica.
He says they just returned from taping a segment with Dr Phil in an effort to conduct a nationwide search.
Erica is believed to be just over four-feet tall and is known to be small for her age. She had brown hair and brown eyes with fair skin.
Anyone with information about Erica Parson's whereabouts should contact the Rowan County Sheriff's Office at ask for 1st. Lt. Chad Moose (704-216-8687), or Investigator Clint Mauldin (704-216-8710).