Mother of Erica Parsons planning candlelight vigil for missing teen

Mother of Erica Parsons planning candlelight vigil for missing teen

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Carolyn Parsons, the biological mother of missing Rowan County teenage Erica Parsons, is planning to hold a candlelight vigil in August in honor of her daughter.

The vigil will take place August 1 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Myers Park, 338 Lawndale Avenue, Concord, at Paul's Picnic Shelter.

Carolyn Parsons held a similar vigil last year at Granite Lake Park in Granite Quarry.

A $50,000 reward is still in place for information about the disappearance and whereabouts of Erica Lynn Parsons. Anyone with information is asked to contact Rowan County Sheriff's Office 1st. Lt. Chad Moose at 704-216-8687 or Investigator Sara Benfield at 704-216-8739.

In other recent news related to the Parsons case, Casey Parsons, adoptive mother of missing teenager Erica Parsons, has been sent to a federal prison hospital in Texas to serve her sentence.

Parsons was sentenced in March to 10 years for financial crimes including cashing the girl's monthly assistance checks for more than a year after she disappeared from their Rowan County home.

Parsons, 40, was listed this week by the federal Bureau of Prisons at Federal Medical Center Carswell, which houses 1,163 female inmates with medical needs.

It is located in Fort Worth, Texas, at a Navy Reserve air station that was formerly known as Carswell Air Force Base. Casey Parsons had been in custody of federal marshals since her sentencing, but she had not been assigned to a federal prison.

During her sentencing hearing in Winston-Salem, Parsons' attorney, Alec Carpenter IV of Greensboro, asked U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder to request she be placed in a prison where she could receive treatment for an undisclosed disorder. Parsons has suffered for years from complications from a gastric bypass procedure.

Parsons filed an appeal of her conviction May 5. Her husband, Sandy Parsons, 41, serving an eight-year sentence in the crimes at Butner Federal Correctional Institution north of Durham, has also appealed his conviction.

Though the Parsonses were convicted of financial crimes, including tax evasion, the case opened a window into the investigation into Erica's 2011 disappearance when Assistant U.S. Attorney Anand Ramaswamy introduced evidence about it in a February sentencing hearing. Ramaswamy said he believed the girl was never found because she is dead.

Erica was adopted by the Parsonses as an infant, and the couple received monthly government assistance checks of $634 because Erica had hearing problems and a learning disability. Her biological mother had at one point been married to Sandy Parsons' brother, but Erica's father was another man.

In the February hearing, her adoptive brother James Parsons, 21, and other members of the Parsons family described a pattern of physical and emotional abuse directed at Erica, including testimony that Casey Parsons encouraged the family's other children to abuse Erica from infancy.

James Parsons testified that he once broke Erica's arm, and shortly afterward decided he could no longer participate in the abuse.

Erica was fed dog food by Casey Parsons as punishment for stealing food or sweets, was often beaten, was frequently locked in a closet and was made to stand in a corner rather than play with other children, family members testified.