Erica Parsons memorial in place at cemetery

Published: Jan. 12, 2017 at 12:24 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2017 at 1:54 PM EST
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David Whisenant-WBTV
David Whisenant-WBTV

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - The remains of Erica Parsons have not been laid to rest, but there is a place waiting when the time comes.

Last week workers placed a large granite bench on the grounds of West Lawn Memorial Park in China Grove.  The bench includes a large sculpture of an angel, and the words "Erica Lynn Parsons."

In October an anonymous donor from Charlotte gave $5000 to pay for the bench, according to Beth McKeithan of Prevent Child Abuse Rowan.

"That was exactly what we dreamed of, to have a marker for Erica and where she;s going to be laid to rest and just have something beautiful that would signify that this is her resting place because she really deserves,"  McKeithan said.  "I wish we could give more than that, but for us we felt like that was the perfect  marker for her."

Others in the community had also made donations towards the cost of the bench, and that money went to Prevent Child Abuse Rowan to purchase new instructional programs for parents and children, and to create a memorial to Erica at the Prevent Child Abuse Rowan Terrie Hess House.

West Lawn Memorial Park donated the plot, as well as burial services.  Wilbur Vault Company of Greensboro is donating a vault, Lyerly Funeral Home in Salisbury donated funeral services.

"I think the community wants closure and I think this brings her back home," Lyerly said. "We all hoped that she would come back whole, but we knew that was possibly not going to happen."

For now, the remains of Erica Parsons are with the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office.

Parsons had been missing from her Salisbury home since November of 2011 but wasn't reported missing of July 2013.  Her adoptive father, Sandy Parsons, who is serving time in a federal prison for fraud, reportedly told investigators where to find Erica's remains.

Those remains were located in a shallow grave in Chesterfield, South Carolina, in early October.  No one has been charged in connection with her death or disappearance.

Investigators say that when their work is complete they will turn over their findings to the Rowan County District Attorney's Office to determine of any charges are appropriate.

Erica's adoptive mother, Casey Parsons, is also in federal prison for fraud.

McKeithan says if there are positive elements that come from Erica's life, it may be the work that is bring done now to prevent such cases from happening.

"I think it really touched so many people's hearts and people felt led and pulled to do as much as they could to help and it's really helped with awareness, people realized that we do have cases like these and so many child abuse cases in this county and people have wanted to reach out and do whatever they could to help and that's wonderful," McKeithan said.  "We do a lot of prevention services in this community, we teach in the school system and we do a nurturing parenting program and we've been able to supplement that to be able to do as much as we can to be prevent these cases from happening."

And for Lyerly, the comfort comes in the thought that Erica is no longer suffering.

"But she's in Heaven, she's with the Lord, she is not hurting at all and I think this community needs to realize that and to know that and to really have some type of closure," Lyerly added.

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