In 2011, Erica Parson, 13, disappeared from her adoptive parents’ home but was not reported missing until 2013. In 2016, her skeletal remains were discovered in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. An autopsy report has now revealed that she was malnourished and had broken bones all over her body.
The disabled girl died of “homicidal violence of undetermined means”, possibly from blunt force trauma, infection, poisoning, strangulation or suffocation, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Raleigh concluded after being unable to determine the exact cause and manner of death due to the level of decomposition.
Parson’s adoptive parents, Sandy and Casey Parsons, are currently serving time for fraud for accepting $12,000 in federal benefits for the girl after she went missing.They will likely face charges in Erica’s death in the coming months, according to law enforcement officials. While living with Casey and Sandy Parsons, Erica was beaten, whipped with a belt buckle that broke her skin, was choked and thrown to the ground, had her hand slammed in a door, was forced to sleep in a closet, fed dog food, had her fingers bent back and her arm was broken.
Sandy (left) and Casey Parsons, pictured speaking to Dr Phil about Erica’s disappearance in 2013
The autopsy report issued on January 3, 2018 said fractures in various stages of healing were found in the teenager’s nose, jaw, upper right arm, nine ribs and several vertebrae. Parsons may also have had an untreated infection, sepsis, renal failure or poisoning, all of which could have resulted in her death. Her smaller than normal, low-density bones showed a growth deficit consistent with malnourishment, according to the report.
“There were other children in the home, but none of the other children were subjected to this treatment,” the documents state.
Casey Parsons, Erica’s uncle, and his wife took in the disabled child when she was five months old and adopted her in 2000. Her birth mother, Carolyn Parson, told the Charlotte Observer she had no money to raise her and did not want her to be in foster care.
Erica was reported missing from the Parsons’ household in Salisbury on July 30, 2013, by a young relative who said she had been missing since December 2011, when she was reportedly sent to live with her biological grandmother, Irene ‘Nan’ Goodman, according to the report and previous media coverage. An investigation was launched and attempts to locate the grandmother and child were unsuccessful.
The adoptive parents were arrested in 2014 and found guilty the following year. Sandy Parsons is serving eight years in a federal prison in Michigan and Casey Parsons is serving 10 years in a federal prison in Florida.
A week before her disappearance in 2011, her siblings described her as “looking grey with sunken eyes, smelling bad with open, oozing cuts, very weak and complaining of not being able to breath,” the report stated.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office says Casey and Sandy Parsons will likely face additional charges in Erica’s death, but it could take up to several months.
“I want to see them get the death penalty,” Erica’s biological aunt Teresa Goodman told WSOC-TV following the release of the graphic autopsy report. “That’s what I want because that’s what they deserve.”