Reporter Notebook: What happened to Erica and Malaya?

Erica Parsons would be 16 years old on Monday
Erica Parsons would be 16 years old on Monday
Malaya Heun died at the age of 15 months
Malaya Heun died at the age of 15 months

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - They are two disturbing stories that, at least for now, don't have any resolution.  Both involve young girls who were physically and/or mentally abused.  One is dead, the other is...who knows?

This coming Monday would be the 16th birthday of Erica Parsons.  Erica hasn't been seen in more than two years, but it was only last July that her adoptive brother reported her missing.

Since then, there have been interviews, searches, local and occasional national media attention, but no sign of the young girl.

A judge in a custody hearing for the two young adoptive siblings of Erica determined that Erica had suffered physical and mental abuse while living in the home of her adoptive parents, Sandy and Casey Parsons.

Two weeks ago the Rowan County Sheriff's Department and the FBI held a press conference announcing a new $25,000 reward for information that may lead to Erica's whereabouts, or explain what happened to her.

Captain John Sifford told WBTV that there was an immediate increase in calls to investigators, but can't say what, if anything, has been gained as of yet.  Even so, investigators do check out each tip in the hope that one will prove true.

The case is far from being a cold case.  It has the attention of law enforcement each and ever day, but the bottom line is that right now, no one can explain what happened to the girl that few in Rowan County, including her next door neighbors, ever remember seeing.

The second case involves the brutal beating death and sexual abuse of a 15 month old child in Kannapolis.  Read that sentence again...the beating and sexual abuse of a 15 month old child.

Malaya Heun was rushed to the hospital by a family member and a family friend on January 19, but the child did not survive.  Kannapolis Police have good information in the case, but so far, no one has been charged.

Search warrants that were issued while Malaya was fighting for her life at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte paint a picture of the hell the child endured

According to the warrants, medical personnel at the hospital said Malaya was being treated for extensive trauma. They reported to Kannapolis Police that there were seven broken ribs on her left side, her head and body were bruised, and she had a displaced clavicle and torn intestines.

The torn intestines resulted in a severe infection that sent Malaya into septic shock. The little girl underwent surgery and was then placed on life support. She died on January 22.

Records also show that Malaya had a blood alcohol content of 0.02.

The warrants also say Malaya had vaginal and rectal damage. Her injuries were consistent with "signs of physical and sexual abuse."

On Tuesday Kannapolis Police Chief Woody Chavis told WBTV that his investigators have been diligent in gathering information as they move forward.

"We are making sure all aspects of the case are covered, and covered again," Chavis said.  "We have some lab results we haven't received back yet and we are consulting with the DA."

Earlier, Chief Chavis described the injuries to Malaya as "the worst I've ever seen in my career."

As these law enforcement agencies continue working the cases of Erica Parsons and Malaya Heun, they continue to ask for help from the public.

Anyone with information on Erica Parsons is asked to contact the Rowan Sheriff's Office at 704-216-8700.

Anyone with information on Malaya Heun can contact Kannapolis Police at 704-920-4000.  For either case, Crime Stoppers can be contacted in Rowan County at 1-866-639-5245.