ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - February 24, 2019, is the 21st anniversary of the birth of a young woman whose life of alleged abuse came to a painful end in 2011.
Erica Lynn Parsons was born in 1998. Two years later, her mother, Carolyn Parsons, allowed Erica to be adopted by family members Casey and Sandy Parsons, believing that couple could give Erica a better life than she was capable of providing.
Now, Casey and Sandy Parsons are in jail, charged with child abuse and murder in Erica’s death.
On Sunday, family, friends, and community members gathered at Erica’s grave site to offer prayers and to remember the girl whose story touched so many.
“I cried all the way up here," Erica’s biological mother Carolyn Parsons said. “Erica is everybody’s angel. Erica is everybody’s story.”
The service was held at West Lawn Memorial Park, on Main Street. It began at 1 p.m.
Flowers and a pinwheel were placed at the grave, and organizers say they were “remembering her life and praying for justice for her.”
“As long as we are breathing, Erica will never be forgotten again," friend Wanda Rogers said.
“It is Erica’s day. She deserves every bit of this and more,” Erica’s biological aunt Teresa Goodman said.
Eric’s biological sister, Brittany Collette Cline, made it a point that Erica is remembered in the everyday lives of those who shared a connection with her.
“You can spend time with her wherever you are or wherever you are going,” Collette Cline said.
The story of Erica Parsons became public in July, 2013, when her adoptive brother Jamie Parsons reported to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office that his adopted sister Erica was missing from the family home on Miller Chapel Road in Rowan County.
Jamie Parsons also told them that Erica, who would have been 15 at the time, had been missing since November, 2011.
Between 2013 and 2018, local, state, and national law enforcement agencies worked to find out what happened to Erica. In 2015 Casey and Sandy Parsons were sent to federal prison for 10 and 8 years, respectively, for stealing federal adoption assistance money that was meant for Erica.
In October 2016, Sandy Parsons led investigators to her skeletal remains in Chesterfield County, SC. It’s a site near property owned by Sandy Parsons’ step-father.
According to the murder indictment released when charges were filed in 2018, Casey Stone Parsons and Sandy Wade Parsons 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.”
The murder trial for Casey Parsons is set for the week of April 6, 2020. No date has been set for the trial of Sandy Parsons.
“The fact that a court date was set for Casey, even though it is in 2020, has a huge impact on how I feel about things getting done.” Erica’s biological mother Carolyn Parsons said. “I do not know if there will ever be 100 percent closure.”
Both adoptive parents could face the death penalty if convicted.