SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - There is more talk over testimony given during the sentencing hearing for the adoptive parents of missing Rowan County teenager Erica Parsons.
Sandy and Casey Parsons were set to be sentenced on fraud convictions, but testimony given by witnesses resulted in the sentencing being delayed until March.
What got the headlines on Wednesday was the emotional testimony about the alleged ongoing brutal mistreatment of Erica Parsons when she lived with Casey and Sandy, but other surprises came out from other witnesses, including FBI Special Agent Tara Cataldo.
While being questioned by the prosecutor, Cataldo spoke about the vast resources used by the FBI, plus state and local agencies to find Erica Parsons.
There were the billboards, the $50,000 reward that is still being offered, and the thousands of leads that were followed up on by law enforcement.
Cataldo said countless man hours were spent searching homes and other locations, DMV and other databases.
There was, and continues to be extensive media coverage locally and nationwide, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children profiled the case and produced an age progression picture of what Erica might look like at age 16.
Asked by the government prosecutor if the Parsons case interfered with other cases, the agent said that yes, it did, and mentioned investigations specifically involving national security, gangs, and drug trafficking cases that were set aside, explaining that for her, the priority for more than a year was to find Erica Parsons.
Not mentioned in court was this: in July Casey Parsons told WBTV that she was creating a web site called helpfinderica.com.
She said it was a way to continue the search, and it had a lot of pictures and information, and Casey Parsons said that it would show her commitment to finding Erica.
WBTV checked today, and that web site is gone, fitting a theme mentioned by family members as well as the government prosecutor, that most have now given up hope that the little girl alleged to have lived like a slave in her home will ever be found alive.