The mother of a 13-year-old North Carolina girl whose body was found in a shallow grave in 2016 — three years after she was reported missing — has pleaded guilty to her murder.
On Friday, Casey Parsons admitted to murdering Erica Parsons in 2011. She will spend the rest of her life in prison, according to a Rowan County Superior Court official.
Erica was reported missing on July 30, 2013, by her brother, Jamie Parsons. He told Rowan County deputies his sister had been missing from his family’s home since late 2011, reports WIS10, WECT and the Charlotte Observer.
When questioned by investigators, Erica’s adoptive parents, Casey and Sandy Parsons, said the teen had gone to live with relatives in Asheville — but investigators doubted their story.
In 2014, Sandy and Casey Parsons were convicted of fraud for keeping federal adoption assistance money after Erica went missing. During the fraud trial, details of Erica’s abusive home life surfaced.
Robin Ashley, Casey Parsons’ sister, testified that her sister had asked her to watch Erica for a few months so she “wouldn’t kill her.” Ashley also testified that her sister said she “couldn’t stand the sight of [Erica’s] face” and that Erica was often covered in bruises and marks.
Jamie Parsons said that he and his sister and both parents would allegedly abuse Erica routinely: She would be forced to eat dog food, be prohibited from using the bathroom and have her fingers broken intentionally. Jamie testified that the last time he saw his sister, she looked like a “zombie” and she told him she “didn’t feel good, couldn’t breathe too good.”
The next day, she was gone, he testified. When he asked his mother where Erica was, she told him she went to her grandmother’s house.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Two years after the fraud trial, in September 2016, Sandy Parsons led investigators to Erica’s body. She had been buried in a shallow grave on a piece of land in South Carolina owned by Parsons family members.
An autopsy conducted by the medical examiner revealed that Erica had died of “homicidal violence” and in February 2018 both Casey and Sandy Parsons were charged with murder and child abuse.
Before Friday, Casey Parsons was scheduled to go to trial in April 2020.
Sandy Parsons remains behind bars and is facing first degree murder, child abuse, felony concealment of death and felony obstruction of justice. He has not entered a plea and his attorney could not be reached for comment Friday.