Erica Parsons first reported as missing four years ago

Erica Parsons first reported as missing four years ago

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - This weekend marked the fourth anniversary of the day when Erica Parsons was first reported missing to the Rowan Sheriff's Office.

Parsons came to the attention of the public at the end of July in 2013 when her adoptive brother reported that she was missing from the family's home on Miller Chapel Road in Salisbury.

Jamie Parsons also told investigators that Erica had not been seen since November 2011.

A nationwide search involving several law enforcement agencies turned up no trace of the young girl.

Rewards were offered, billboards posted, and Erica's adoptive parents even appeared on the Dr. Phil Show to say that they believed Erica was still alive.

Sandy and Casey Parsons said that they had delivered Erica to live with her grandmother in Asheville.

From the beginning investigators said that they did not believe the claims made by Erica's adoptive parents.

In 2014 Sandy and Casey Parsons were convicted on federal fraud charges for continuing to accept federal adoption assistance money long after Erica had disappeared.

Investigators continued to try and find out what happened to Erica and were given new insight during the sentencing phase of the fraud proceedings when there was testimony that Erica had been frequently tortured by her adoptive family.

Jamie Parsons testified that Erica was forced to live in a closet, was given dog food to eat, had her fingers bent backward by her adoptive mother, and was beaten.

Sandy Parsons was given an eight-year sentence in federal prison, Casey was given ten years.

Last year, Sandy Parsons told investigators where Erica's remains could be found. He was taken out of prison and allowed to lead them to a shallow grave near some family property in South Carolina.

The remains were turned over to the Medical Examiner's Office, then released to authorities in February, 2017.

On February 25, a special memorial service was held at First Baptist Church in Salisbury for the community to honor the memory of Erica Parsons.

During a prayer, Guardian ad-Litem John Carlton thanked God for Erica's life.

"Pain and suffering that most of us do not even know, but what we do know for certain is that when Erica woke up after that tragic night of her death, she was face to face with you…face to face with a loving savior who welcomed her into his arms and told her never again will she suffer," Carlton said.

In closing, First Baptist pastor Dr. Kenneth Lance reminded the community about the responsibility of caring for children, and saying that she (Erica) had become a symbol of the struggle against child abuse.

"My faith teaches that if Erica Parsons creates within us a more attentive community, a more encouraging community, a more just community for every child of every race, of every background, of every religion, of every point of origin, then God has redeemed her tragedy," Dr. Lance added.

Investigators continue working on the case.

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