SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Casey Parsons, the woman who is facing murder charges in the death of her adopted daughter Erica Parsons. On Thursday, the district attorney said she will be tried as a capital case.
Last week, prosecutors announced they were seeking the death penalty in the case against Sandy Parsons, the man who led investigators to the remains of the adopted daughter he is now accused of killing.
"It's hard on many different levels, first of all and foremost my child," said Erica's biological mother Carolyn Parsons. "I trusted them to raise my child, to do what I couldn't do at that particular time."
Sandy Parsons was also charged with murder in the death of Erica Parsons. He made his first court appearance last month.
He had been serving time in federal prison on fraud charges.
Casey Parsons was being held in the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee on fraud charges before being brought back to Rowan County to be charged in connection with Erica Parsons death.
According to the murder indictment, the couple reportedly did "inflict serious bodily injury, broken and fractured bones which resulted in a permanent and protracted condition that causes extreme pain, on Erica Lynn Parsons, who was approximately 12 to 13 years old at the time."
In August of 2016, Sandy Parsons led investigators to a shallow grave on his family's property in South Carolina. It was there that the remains of Erica Parsons were found.
The girl had been missing since November 2011, but only reported missing in July 2013.
Sandy Parsons and his wife Casey Parsons were indicted by a grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, felony child abuse inflicting serious injury, felony concealment of death, and felony obstruction of justice.
Sandy was previously serving time in a federal prison in Michigan.
"I was abused as a child, Erica's abuse was mine times 10," Carolyn Parsons, Erica's biological mother, said. "I hope that this haunts them for the rest of their lives. I hope they never have a minute's peace. I hope it destroys them."
Erica 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.
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.
Investigators say Casey and Sandy Parsons murdered Erica Parsons in November 2011 and hid her body in a shallow grave on family property in South Carolina.
"To me that (the death penalty) is their easy way out," added Carolyn Parsons. "I think they need life in prison. No parole. If it was legal to do it, no solitary confinement, but that's not legal. Maybe somewhere along the line while they're in prison or jail waiting, they'll get some of the same torture, or maybe not even close, maybe feel some of the pain that she did."