• Custody hearing for adoptive siblings of Erica Parsons

    By: Kathryn Burcham

    Updated:

    ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - Rowan County DSS officials told a family court judge Casey and Sandy Parsons continue to employ "deceptive practices" in their fight to regain custody of their two youngest children.

    On Thursday, the Parsons appeared before a juvenile judge for a scheduled custody review hearing.

    SPECIAL SECTION: Past coverage on Erica Parsons' disappearance

    A Channel 9 reporter was subpoenaed to testify, but the judge ruled the reporter didn’t have to testify.

    Several months ago, the Parsons, or someone claiming to be them, reached out to Channel 9 via email.

    In April, Eyewitness News received copies of two emails from the email address "a Hedgehog Place.” The emails claimed they were from a Rowan County DSS caseworker.

    In the emails, the caseworker told Sandy Parsons that their daughter Sadie was being "physically mistreated" by her caregivers.

    But when Channel 9 shared those emails with Rowan County DSS, an official told Channel 9 the emails were not valid, but "changed from their original content."

    On Thursday, the attorney for DSS argued to the judge that those emails showed a pattern of continued deceptive practices by the couple.

    After the review, the judge ruled that other family members could take over legal guardianship of Sadie and Tobie, which was a blow to the Parsons' fight for custody.

    The Parsons' two youngest children have not been in their care since July 2013, when their adopted sister Erica was first reported missing.

    The latest development in the Parsons' custody battle comes as the couple continues to prepare for their fight in federal court against more than 70 counts of fraud and identity theft.

    In motions filed Wednesday, attorneys for both Casey and Sandy Parsons asked the federal judge to prohibit testimony about any "alleged physical abuse or mistreatment" of Erica Parsons.

    The motions also asked to deny any testimony or evidence regarding the Parsons' "alleged involvement" in Erica's disappearance in 2013.

    The attorneys argued that information had no bearing on the allegations of fraud and identity theft and told the judge it could possibly confuse or mislead the jury.

    The judge has not yet ruled on the motions.

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