A day after authorities returned his wife from a Florida prison, Sandy Parsons was brought back to North Carolina on Wednesday to face murder and other charges in the gruesome death of their adoptive daughter, Erica Parsons.
In a Rowan County courtroom on Wednesday, Sandy Parsons’ wife, Casey Parsons, requested a court-appointed lawyer to defend her against the charges in her adoptive daughter’s death. Sandy Parsons’ first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.
At one point during her first appearance before Superior Court Judge Lori Hamilton, Casey Parsons appeared to stare at Erica’s birth mother, Carolyn Parsons, and other family members seated in the front row, Observer news partner WBTV reported. Parsons showed no emotion during the appearance, which lasted under five minutes, according to the station.
Casey and Sandy Parsons are each charged with first-degree murder, child abuse with serious physical injury, obstruction of justice and concealment of a death, all felonies.
Never miss a local story.
Erica was last seen alive about seven years ago. Authorities don’t know for sure when Erica died, but they believe she was 12 or 13 at the time. Her remains were found in rural Chesterfield County in Upstate South Carolina in September 2016.
Erica, whose short, tortured life captured national headlines, could have died of “blunt force” injury suffered over years, or she could have been suffocated or strangled, according to the results of her autopsy released in January. Her autopsy by the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office said she died of “homicidal violence of undetermined means.”
Sandy and Casey Parsons were convicted in 2015 of financial crimes that included cashing adoption assistance checks totaling more than $12,000 after Erica’s disappearance.
Sandy Parsons is serving eight years in federal prison and Casey Parsons 10 years.
On Wednesday morning, Rowan County sheriff’s detectives and a North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agent flew to Michigan to take custody of Sandy Parsons at a federal prison in Milan. They returned to Rowan County by about 4 p.m., and Sandy Parsons was formally charged with the same offenses as his wife.
Hamilton has not set the time of Sandy Parsons’ Thursday court appearance, the sheriff’s office said. The judge has banned cameras from the courtroom, according to sheriff’s officials.
Sandy and Casey Parsons are in the Rowan County jail without bail.