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Erica Parsons remembered on what would have been 22nd birthday

Both adoptive parents have pleaded guilty to her murder
Updated: Feb. 24, 2020 at 7:56 AM EST
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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Monday marks what would have been the 22nd birthday of Erica Lynn Parsons. Her life ended in abuse and murder at the hands of her caregivers in December, 2011.

“Happy 22nd birthday, you are loved and missed,” wrote Carolyn Parsons, Erica’s biological mother.

Erica Lynn Parsons was born in 1998. Two years later, 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.

In August of 2019, almost exactly six years to the day she was reported missing, Erica Parsons adoptive mother, Casey Parsons, pleaded guilty to murder and child abuse in Erica’s death.

“I don’t know why I did the stuff I did, I’m very sorry," Casey Parsons said in court. "God gave me a precious gift, a baby girl, Erica, and he entrusted me to take care of her and I failed him and I failed Erica, I failed her horribly.”

Testimony revealed that birthday and Christmas gifts given to Erica were taken away and given to other kids. Erica was forced to drink from a dog bowl and slept on a closet floor. Jamie Parsons, Erica’s adoptive brother, said Casey would put Erica’s hand on a hot stove, and beat her so badly that her back “looked like Jesus’ back."

Casey is also accused of cutting Erica’s fingers open and pouring iodine on them to avoid going to the doctor.

Casey Parsons will spend the rest of her life in prison.

In December, Casey’s husband Sandy Parsons, the adoptive father of Erica Parsons, pleaded guilty in Rowan County Criminal Superior Court. He was sentenced to serve between 33 and 43.5 years in prison on the charges, which included murder, child abuse, concealment of death and obstruction of justice.

Sandy Parsons admitted his “harsh treatment” of the girl, including beating her with a belt, bending her fingers backward, locking her in a closet and choking her.

The case began for investigators on July 30, 2013, when Erica’s adoptive brother Jamie Parsons went to the Rowan Sheriff’s Office to report that Erica had been missing from the family home on Miller Chapel Road since December of 2011.

Jamie Parsons, the biological son of Sandy and Casey Parsons, had been in a physical altercation with his parents and said they had kicked him out of the house.

The biggest break in the case came in 2016 while Casey and Sandy Parsons were both serving federal prison sentences for stealing federal adoption assistance money long after Erica was gone. Sandy Parsons told investigators that he would lead them to where Erica was buried.

Under the watchful eye of prison guards, Sandy Parsons was taken out of prison and driven to property near to a house owned by his family in Chesterfield County, SC, where he pointed to a shallow grave in a heavily wooded area off Blair Hendrix Rd, in between the towns of Pageland and Mount Croghan.

“The guards that were with him took him into the woods and within a minute they were coming back out, and he was crying when he came back out,” Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks said at the time.

In a social media post to acknowledge Erica’s 22nd birthday, her mother wrote of the importance of reporting suspected child abuse.

“There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t miss Erica, that I don’t think of Erica. Yes, some days are harder than others, like birthdays and holidays.” Parsons wrote. “I have lost a child to abuse. I have lost a family to abuse. So please people, pay attention...save a life, save a kid, save an adult, and by all means love them more and more. Hold your kids tighter, harder, longer, and better than ever.”

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