SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Wednesday marks exactly three months since James Parsons went to the Rowan County Sheriff's Department to report that his adopted sister Erica had not been seen in nearly two years.
That statement set off a large scale criminal investigation involving the Rowan County Sheriff's Department, the SBI, and the FBI.
There has been local and national media coverage, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children even produced an age progression picture to show what the now 15-year-old girl would look like today.
So far, there have been no charges filed and no sign of Erica Parsons.
Two weeks ago, WBTV posted a story about the financial aspect of the case.
Based on information in search warrants, it included statements that investigators believed that the Casey and Sandy Parsons, the adoptive parents of Erica Parsons, may have committed financial crimes and that they were untruthful when interviewed by law enforcement.
Again, no one has been charged with doing anything illegal, though the implication was clear in the search warrants.
On Saturday, WBTV received an angry note from Casey Parsons accusing WBTV of telling "lies" in that story and "butchering" the statements they made.
WBTV tried on three occasions to speak to Casey and Sandy Parsons prior to the posting of that story, but each time they refused. One scheduled interview was canceled by the Parsons at the last minute without explanation.
In the interest of fairness, the content of the email is now posted here with unedited portions from the email Casey Parsons send to WBTV.
One statement Casey Parsons objected to from the WBTV story was this:
"How Sandy and Casey Parsons earned an income then, as well as now, is not clear.
A now defunct website for Parsons Kennel until recently advertised dogs and hedgehogs for sale. A statement on the site described the kennel as family operated and said that the animals lived in the house with the Parsons instead of in cages.
Sandy Parsons told WBTV that he had worked as a butcher at a Food Lion in Spencer.
When knives wrapped in plastic were found during one of the property searches, Parsons told WBTV that they were his and that they were the kind of thing any butcher would possess."
"Another statement you made is how did we earn a living (income). You made it like we have never earned a income except some sort of government assistance," Casey Parsons replied.
"My husband worked for Foodlion for 10 years. My husband has worked every year of his life since he was 14 years old. My husband just lost his job on May 26, 2012. I also worked until 2001. At that time my health started getting bad. I am tired of people like you putting my family out there like we are bums. We work very, very hard for what we made. My kennel was a dream of mine to have and one day I wanted to open a pet store. I love animals. We didn't make money off breeding our dogs like people think. I didn't even have a litter of puppies until November 2011. We only had a couple of litters and mainly family members were given these puppies and I kept 2 puppies myself. So we didn't make money off the dogs."
In the original WBTV story, it was pointed out that the search warrants noted that Casey and Sandy Parsons continued to receive money from the state on behalf of Erica Parsons, even though the teen was no longer in the home.
"When Erica's adoptive brother James Parsons first reported Erica missing in July, he told investigators that Sandy and Casey continued to receive checks from the state of North Carolina. The checks amounted to a little over $600 per month.
The Parsons attorney, Carlyle Sherrill, admitted that his clients did receive the checks, but said that they had a right to since they were the legal caregivers for Erica Parsons.
But when the home at 218 Miller Chapel Road in Salisbury was searched by investigators on August 14, they "failed to locate any evidence of Erica Parsons still living here or any evidence that her room or personal living area still remained in the home." They further concluded that "Sandy and Casey Parsons knew Erica would not be returning."
In addition, according to an SBI search warrant, "Casey Stone Parsons and Sandy Parsons, Sr., stated Erica was adopted and that they received financial aid after Erica left their custody in 2011."
Casey Parsons replied to this with a lengthy explanation that included information from a state web site.
"Also everyone needs to go to the North Carolina Adoption assistance website and learn more facts before you pass judgment on my husband and I. Please go to: http://info.dhhs.state.nc.us/olm/manuals/dss/csm-50/man/CSs1306-02.htm. You need Section III. My husband and I have never ever signed our rights away for Erica. We are still legally responsible for her.Please keep reading and make sure to even read the special paragraph the state writes about a child even leaving home. "Out-of-Placements" These statements are made out of the mouth of our own Government. Exactly what my husband and I did for Erica. We had an Out-of-Home arrangement.Just in case you don't wish to go to the website here's a quick peek of what it states:
Monthly cash assistance payments will be the primary source of post-adoption support for many families since they may not need or request any other services. (See Section 1600, Child Welfare Funding –Adoption Assistance). When post-adoption services involve the out-of-home placement for a child, it is important to note the federal guidelines on when adoption assistance benefits can be terminated. Once an adoption assistance agreement is signed and in effect, it can be terminated under one of the following circumstances:
- the child is 18 years old;
- the adoptive parent(s) has requested the termination of Adoption Assistance benefits;
- the adoptive parent(s) dies
- the adoptive parent(s) is no longer legally responsible for or providing financial support for the child;
- a court of competent jurisdiction has terminated the parental right(s) of the adoptive parent(s);
- the child dies;
- the child is readopted;
- the child is emancipated;
- the child marries; or
- the child enlists in the military;
SPECIAL PARAGRAPH:Sometimes adoptive families or adopted children make their own arrangements for out-of-home placements. Again, the fact that the child is not living in the home does not mean the adoption assistance should be terminated. Even when children return to the biological family, the adoptive parents are still legally responsible. Support can be provided through financial support to the biological parents, purchase of clothes and other necessities, and the maintenance of a home for the child. There have been many situations where a child has returned to the adoptive home after realizing that many of his beliefs about the birth families were fantasies. Other arrangements may include support in establishing a separate living arrangement by paying rent or utilities, or purchasing necessary items for the child's new living arrangement. Often these arrangements prove to be temporary and the child returns to the adoptive family. Even if the arrangements continue, the adoptive parents are providing for the needs of the child in a manner that works for the family."
The email sent to WBTV did not mention anything as to the whereabouts of Erica Parsons.