SALISBURY Carolyn Parsons pleaded on Sunday for anyone with information about her daughter’s disappearance to come forward.
Parsons spoke at a vigil in honor of her daughter, Erica, on the steps of the Rowan County Courthouse. More than 100 people attended, lighting candles, singing “Amazing Grace” and hoping the outpouring of support would help in the search for the missing teen.
“I feel like I’m in somebody’s nightmare, and they won’t wake up and let me out,” said Carolyn Parsons, who gave Erica up for adoption as a baby.
At one point during the vigil, she spoke to her daughter, asking her to make contact. “I know I wasn’t there to raise you. I know that I had no part in that, but call somebody, email somebody, Facebook somebody. We love you. We miss you and we care about you.”
Erica was reported missing on July 30 and is the subject of a national search that has gained the attention of her hometown, 40 miles north of Charlotte, and the nation. Erica’s adoptive parents, Sandy and Casey Parsons, say they haven’t seen her since December 2011, when she was 13.
As an adult, Carolyn Parsons married into the Parsons family. For a time, she was the wife of Steven Parsons, Sandy Parsons’ brother. But Carolyn and Steven separated – and Carolyn got pregnant with Erica by another man. Erica is her fourth and youngest child.
Authorities suspect foul play. Search warrants obtained by investigators say family members believe Erica was abused. Her adoptive parents have been questioned several times, but no one has been charged in connection with Erica’s disappearance.
The Parsonses have alternately sought out the media spotlight and hidden from it. Weeks after Erica was reported missing, they appeared on a two-part episode of the “Dr. Phil” show, during which Sandy Parsons failed a polygraph test when he was asked if he knew anything about her disappearance. Facing intense scrutiny from the media and the community, the Parsonses moved from their home on Miller Chapel Road last week.
The Parsonses say Erica went to live with her biological grandmother, Irene Goodman in 2011. They say they dropped her off at a McDonald’s in Mooresville, but later, Erica told them in a call that she didn’t want to come back.
Several family members – including Erica’s biological mother – have said they don’t believe the Parsonses are being truthful.
Kristina Parker of Salisbury organized Sunday’s vigil.
“I have children,” she said. “I’m sure a lot of you have children. I feel like if we pray together, then somebody will say something and she will come home.”
Parker said she doesn’t know Erica but was touched by her story.
“We’ll do whatever we need to help. We’ll do it until she gets home.”
Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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