SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Billboards with photos of missing Salisbury teenager Erica Parsons are on display Sunday morning in an effort to bring the search to the Charlotte area.
Adams Outdoor Advertising is donating eight billboards in a community wide effort to locate the missing teen.
The billboard locations are:
- I-85 at Mcadenville (both sides)
- I-77 at Carowinds Blvd (both sides)
- I-77 s/o exit 28 Lake Norman (both sides)
- I-85 north of Billy Graham
- I-485 at Nations Ford east of I-77
Erica Parsons was last seen nearly two years ago, and the case is making headlines across the nation. And now a $15,000 reward is being offered for information.
State and federal investigators are working with the Rowan County Sheriff's Office in the search for 15-year-old Erica Parsons.
According to investigators, Parsons was reported missing on July 30 to the Sheriff's Office by her step-brother James. She was reportedly last seen in November 2011 at a home along the 200-block of Miller Chapel Road, in Salisbury, when she was 13-years-old.
Investigators released an age-progressed photo of what Parsons may look like now on Wednesday morning.
"It looks to me like she's changed a lot from those earlier photographs, much younger," said Carlyle Sherrill, the attorney for Casey and Sandy Parsons. "Yes, I think it might be helpful."
Erica's adoptive parents, Sandy and Casey Parsons, say Erica went to visit her biological grandmother, Irene Goodman, shortly after Goodman connected with Casey Parsons on Facebook.
On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, the Parsons appeared on the nationally syndicated show Dr. Phil.
"After living with Nan [Irene Goodman] for two months, Nan told us that Erica did not want to come back home," Casey Parsons told Dr. Phil. "Erica wanted to stay with her permanently."
At one point, Dr. Phil asked Casey Parsons if she'd ever told Erica to come home.
"Did you ever wanna say "Look you need to come home. You're our daughter, you're our responsibility. We love you - you're our family. You need to be here with us. I'm not just gonna turn you over to someone at the McDonalds and not ever see you again," he asked.
"I said that many of times. Many, many, many times," Casey Parsons responded."But the thing is for to bring Erica back that was - everybody in my family would even say 'That's selfish on your part cuz she's happy now. She's with Nan, she's having a very good life, she's loving what she's got and you can't give her what' - we got told over and over we had too many kids and we cannot give her what Nan could give her."
On the Wednesday edition of the program Sandy Parsons submitted to a polygraph test. Parsons was asked about whether he deliberately caused Erica's disappearance. The polygraph expert concluded that Parsons answers were "strongly deceptive."
"It's not admissible in any court in the land," said Salisbury attorney Todd Paris, who is not associated with the Parsons case. "I simply think that, back in the day, if I were going to have a client that were going to do a polygraph test in the public arena, I would have had him polygraphed before he took that polygraph to make sure that I thought he did well."
WBTV spoke with Erica's biological mother, Carolyn Parsons, after she was reported missing. Carolyn is a relative of Sandy and Casey Parsons.
"This is my kid. Imagine if it was you. How would you feel? I feel like I'm in somebody's nightmare and they will not wake up and let me out," she said.
Carlyle Sherrill sat down with WBTV's David Whisenant on Tuesday afternoon. Last week, Sherrill said that the Parsons were doing everything they could to help locate Erica.
"They're appearing on national media to try and put the word out across the entire country that they're, showing a picture of Erica, anybody seen Erica, to try and find her," Sherrill told WBTV. "I haven't seen them for a few days, certainly it's nerve wracking to be trying to recover from surgery, have your house torn to bits and to have people watching your every move, it's got to be nerve wracking."
Sherrill says the couple didn't report Erica missing because they thought she just decided not to come back.
Dr. Phil asked the Parsons about the decision to not report Erica missing.
"What strikes me in contrast is you have another daughter, Brooke, that went missing for one night and you turned that into the police," he said on Tuesday's show.
"No that was a completely different situation," Casey Parsons insisted."We let Erica go live with her grandmother. I woke up and at 7 o'clock in the morning and my 16-year-old daughter wasn't in the bed. She had run off with an adult boy and we had to go to his house and pick her back up."
Erica's biological mother disputes the Parsons' claim that Erica went to live with her grandmother, saying both of Erica's grandmothers have been dead for at least five years.
"[Police said] we had killed Erica and buried her in our backyard," Casey Parsons told WBTV in an interview a week after Erica was reported missing. "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'."
WBTV has learned that someone claiming to be a psychic made contact through Crime Stoppers to tell investigators about a vision of Erica Parson being buried in a grassy field. The tip contained other details. When asked about this claim, investigators said that they were looking into every possibility.
The Parsons say after they were questioned by investigators, social workers came to the home and took their two youngest children.
"We was questioned for two days straight by the detectives and when we told him on the second day, when we got our phone call from one of our relatives - his brother, and we told him that we would want to talk to our lawyer and his words was "If you go, you will regret it" and when we went and talked to our lawyer at 4:30 they was at our house an hour later to take our kids," Casey Parson said on the Dr. Phil show."And they took them. We have not received any reasons why - he hasn't either - we have no received anything. We have not been able to see them, call them, nothing."
"She was teenager. She was with her grandparent – completely safe, having fun, and just loving her life," Casey Parsons told WBTV. "She loves Nan. I met Nan. I talked to Nan. Nan is a very good lady."
Sherrill also told WBTV that he and his clients are finished doing media interviews. The attorney says the goal of getting the word out about Erica's disappearance has been accomplished.
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.
If you have information about Erica Lynn Parsons, you are asked to call the Rowan County Sheriff's Office at 704-216-8700.