A break in the disappearance of Erica Parsons, the Salisbury girl missing for nearly five years, came in August, authorities have disclosed.
People with knowledge of the case told The Charlotte Observer that it was about the time that the girl's adoptive father – Sandy Parsons, serving eight years in a federal prison in Butner for fraud in connection with cashing the girl's adoption assistance checks – opened a dialogue through a third party with detectives.
One family member said that Sandy Parsons bragged from prison that police would never be able to find Erica's body without him because she was hidden somewhere that hikers, hunters and even children exploring the woods wouldn't venture.
When it came out where Erica's body was, Sandy Parsons confided, it would be a surprise to everyone.
Sandy Parsons also boasted that he'd made an offer to law enforcement – if they would release him and two other felons he was imprisoned with, give him the reward money for finding Erica and never charge him in her death, he would lead them to her body.
If true, rejected
If Sandy Parsons, who has a fifth-grade education, ever actually made such an offer, it was rejected outright by authorities, a family member said. But a channel of communication had been opened and negotiations apparently began.
It is not known why Sandy Parsons would have started talking with authorities after little more than a year in prison.
It is also unknown whether Sandy Parsons was temporarily freed from federal custody to lead detectives to Erica's body on Tuesday in rural South Carolina. But Rowan County detectives released a statement Thursday night saying that FBI agents were part of the team that uncovered the girl's body.
Erica's body was found not far from an area Sandy Parsons was familiar with – his mother lived in rural Chesterfield County near Pageland, S.C., about 40 miles southeast of Charlotte.
Rowan County detectives said late Thursday that they had become aware in August that Erica was likely dead.
It is also not known whether any plea deals have been made on behalf of Sandy or Casey Parsons, the adoptive parents of Erica Parsons.
Erica Parsons' skeletal remains were examined by a state medical examiner this week and positively identified, authorities said.