SALISBURY Casey and Sandy Parsons, the adoptive parents of missing teenager Erica Parsons, are no longer talking to Rowan County investigators because of what they felt was accusatory questioning, their attorney said Monday.
Carlyle Sherrill, who has practiced law in Salisbury for more than three decades, said the couple will continue to cooperate with the FBI, which they believe is conducting a missing persons investigation rather than trying to build a homicide case.
Sherrill said the break with the Rowan County Sheriffs Department came Aug. 13, when authorities searched the Parsons home on Miller Chapel Road outside Salisbury.
During the sweep, Casey Parsons was telling local, state and federal agents about giving up Erica two years ago to a woman she believed to be her biological grandmother, known as Irene Goodman or Nan.
Sherrill said an FBI agent took him aside and reminded him that its a crime to lie to federal agents. Sherrill said a time-out was taken in the interview and arrangements were made to continue it the next day in his Salisbury office.
After he departed, Sherrill said, investigators from the sheriffs office starting talking to Sandy Parsons, the girls adoptive father. They maneuvered Sandy into the back of a car and asked accusatory questions, Sherrill said.
The next day, two FBI agents came to Sherrills office and talked to Sandy Parsons for four hours. Casey Parsons was in Winston-Salem that day for treatment of an undisclosed medical problem.
Sherrill said he made it clear to the agents that the Parsonses were not trying to mislead them but that they really believed that Goodman was a relative.
I said, Look, I know it doesnt make sense because Nan is not the grandmother, but thats whats in their minds. Thats what they think. Until last month, he said, they believed Erica was safe with her.
Efforts to find Goodman, whom the Parsons believed lived in Asheville, have been fruitless.
Sherrill said the Parsonses are aware that the FBI and local authorities are in contact with each other about the case.
Posters and billboards are circulating soliciting the publics help in finding the girl, but so far apparently no useful tips have been received, Sherrill said.
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