It was 2011 when 13-year-old Charlotte, North Carlolina, resident Erica Parsons was last seen alive. Now she’s been found dead, and the community that has spent years searching for Erica has come together to provide her with proper funeral services.
Erica wasn’t even reported missing until 2013, when James Parsons, her adoptive older brother, contacted authorities after an argument he had with their parents, father Sandy Parsons and mother Casey Parsons. James told police that he hadn’t seen Erica for the past two years and that the last time he did, “She looked like a zombie.” He had spotted the young teen standing on a street corner, which was one of her typical punishments.
A three-year search ensued, bringing to light revelations that Erica, who was developmentally disabled, had suffered a tragic existence of abuse at the hands of Sandy and Casey. Both parents are presently incarcerated for fraud in Florida, as they continued to cash Erica’s adoption checks long after the girl had vanished.
A search of the Parsons home revealed a urine-stained closet where Erica would be imprisoned for “long stretches.”
Relentless nationwide searching turned up nothing until this past August, when Sandy Parsons, a year into his jail sentence, indicated to authorities that Erica was dead and he could take them to her body. After a period of negotiations, on September 27, Sandy Parsons led police to Erica’s remains in a shallow grave located in Chesterfield County, South Carolina.The discovery, while unconscionable and horrific, has provided closure to those who have searched for Erica. It has also rallied the Charlotte community to see that the murdered teen is buried with honor and dignity.
Brent Lyerly, the owner of Lyerly Funeral Home and Cremation Concepts, told WBTV: “We just felt like this was the right thing to do. This community has really had a rough time with this. This is something that happens not here, not even Charlotte, and everybody has been so involved in just hoping that everybody find her alive. So we feel like we need some closure for this community.”
Lyerly is donating full services to Erica, including providing her with a casket big enough for how big her body was when she was murdered, not for the current size of the bones that were unearthed. The West Lawn cemetery is additionally donating a plot and interment services. Investigators may hold Erica’s remains for at least two more weeks for processing, reports add.
Fay Creech, a mother and grandmother from West Lawn, said the case has touched her life, “We will furnish the memorial through Granite Bronze out of Georgia. They’ll donate the memorial.” Creech also added that an actual portrait of Erica will be mounted to the marker.Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten spoke to Fox 8 , saying, “Everybody involved in this case has children. It touches you. I was there at the grave site when her body was recovered and I’ll tell you there’s some pretty tough officers that had a pretty tough time. It’s worn on all of us.”
Main photo: Erica Parsons “Missing” flyer