Autopsy reveals new details about how Erica Parsons died, and lived

Published: Jan. 9, 2018 at 7:48 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 9, 2018 at 8:32 PM EST
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ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The official autopsy for Erica Parsons released Tuesday may not give a definite cause of death, but it does give insight into how the young girl lived before she was killed.

The autopsy states Parsons' cause of death was "homicidal violence of undetermined means." The coroner wrote "we cannot exclude the possibility of a terminal blunt force injury, suffocation or strangulation."

Parsons was reported missing from Rowan County in July of 2013, but had reportedly not been seen for two years before that time. Jamie Parsons, her adopted brother, reported her missing, telling authorities that Erica had not been seen since November 2011.

In October 2016, Erica's adopted father, Sandy Parsons, led investigators to her skeletal remains in Chesterfield County.

Previous: More info released on discovery of Erica Parsons' remains 

Erica was adopted by Sandy and Casey Parsons when she was two-years-old.

Both the adoptive parents were sentenced to prison in March 2015, convicted of defrauding the government by continuing to accept federal adoption assistance money long after Erica Parsons was gone from the family home.

Previous: Casey and Sandy Parsons sentenced to combined 18 years in prison

No charges have been filed in Erica's death.

During the course of the years-long investigation and fraud trial Jamie Parsons - along with other alleged witnesses - told investigators that Erica was abused during her stay with Sandy and Casey by himself and multiple family members.

**WARNING: Information from courtroom testimonies and autopsy report are disturbing and may not be appropriate for all readers**

According to his testimony, Casey would often break Erica's fingers by bending them backwards. She would then make her own cast for Erica's fingers and would not take her for medical assistance.

Previous: Family, witnesses testify in Parsons fraud case

Jamie testified that Sandy would often get mad and punch Erica with his fist in the back and the top of her head. He said Erica was forced to live in a closet, and was often locked in the closet for hours at a time. There was no bed in the closet and she was forced to sleep on the floor.

She was not given access to a bathroom, he said in court, and when Casey found out that Erica had relieved herself she would be beaten. He also said food was often withheld from Erica and she was forced to eat dog food out of a can.

The night Jamie last saw Erica, in November 2011, he says she was standing in the corner being punished.

"She looked like a zombie," he said in court. He said her face was pale white and she told him that she "didn't feel good, couldn't breathe too good."

When Erica told Casey that she didn't feel well, she reportedly told Erica to "shut the [expletive] up" and Jamie went to bed, he testified.

The next morning, he says Casey and Sandy weren't home when he woke up.  They didn't return until later in the day and when they did, Jamie says, Sandy looked sick, "like he was about to throw up," and didn't talk.  Casey looked normal, he said.

Jamie says when he asked Casey where Erica was, she told him they took her to her grandmother's house.

The autopsy released Tuesday seems to confirm some of those details.

The autopsy states that "fractures documented at autopsy are consistent with multiple blunt force injuries over a prolonged period, and the growth deficit and low bone density are consistent with malnourishment. The description of the decedent just prior to her disappearance suggests she may have been the suffering from untreated infection/sepsis, rhabdomyolysis, renal failure, or poisoning at that time, all of which could have caused her death."

The autopsy goes on to state that "Given the history of physical abuse, and signs of physical abuse present at autopsy, we cannot exclude the possibility of a terminal blunt force injury, suffocation or strangulation."

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