HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - The Zahra Baker playground in Hickory has reminded neighbors of Zahra Baker's tragic story for more than six years. Now, they're reminded of her tragic murder after the remains of Erica Parsons were discovered in South Carolina.
Back in 2010, 10-year-old Baker was reported missing, then found dead and dismembered. Her stepmom, Elisa, pleaded guilty to a second degree murder charge.
Parsons was reported missing in 2013, though she was last seen in 2011, when she was 13-years-old. On Thursday, investigators found skeletal remains in Chesterfield County, SC. Nobody has been charged yet with Parsons' death.
At Zahra Baker Playground, parents remembered how Baker's death unfolded after hearing about Parsons.
"Everyday I was trying to find out what happened," said Belinda Barron.
Both young girls lived similarly tragic lives. They both went missing and were later found dead. There were also reports of abuse within their homes, though nothing came of these allegations.
"To see something like this, almost repeated, it breaks your heart," Barron said.
Hickory neighbors believe something could have been done to prevent these two young girls' deaths.
"It's sad to see a child being brought up in the world here, and have to suffer through child abuse," said Richard Shade.
Even though the search for Parsons is now over - and the search for Baker has been long over - neighbors like Shade and Barron are left wondering what could have been done to prevent the tragic deaths of these two girls.