Crime

Animal bones found at home of missing teen Erica Parsons cause stir

A person who lives at the home where Erica Parsons was last seen alive discovered bones under a tree Monday, authorities said. But investigators believe the bones may belong to a small animal, maybe a dog.

Detectives with the Rowan Sheriff’s Office were called to Casey and Sandy Parsons’ former home on Miller Chapel Road by the homeowner who had found bones while doing yard work. The Parsons’ were Erica’s adopted parents.

According to the Observer’s news partner, WBTV, the homeowner who now lives at the one-story home had cut down a large tree and discovered the bones beneath it.

Investigators believe the bones belonged to an animal. They sent digital images to the the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office for a more experienced opinion, and the initial opinion was corroborated, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. John Sifford.

Erica was reported missing in July 2013 by her adoptive brother, but had not been seen alive for more than a year before that.

The case in Rowan County, about 40 miles north of Charlotte, drew international attention. Investigators searched the home and its backyard as part of the investigation.

Casey and Sandy Parsons have said Erica went to live with her biological grandmother in Asheville, but that they ultimately lost contact.

They have not been charged in Erica’s death, but federal authorities accused them of cheating the federal government out of adoption assistance money even though they weren’t taking care of Erica.

Casey Parsons pleaded guilty and is serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison. Sandy Parsons is serving an eight-year sentence after being found guilty during a short trial.

As they were sentenced, U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroder told the Parsonses they were responsible for Erica’s death.

Schroeder pointed out evidence that Erica Parsons was often locked in a closet and sometimes was fed dog food from a can.

Cleve R. Wootson Jr.: 704-358-5046, @CleveWootson

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