ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - Documents obtained only by Eyewitness News shed new light on concerns about Erica Parsons years before she disappeared.
Channel 9 spoke with one person who was intimately involved with the Department of Social Services records that cleared the Parsons family of abuse. The station has agreed to not reveal her identity.
The DSS documents show at least one person was concerned Erica was being abused almost a decade before she disappeared. The documents state that person saw Erica when she was only 4 years old with "four marks on her rear end, a long one down the back of her leg and a couple on the side of her face."
A woman involved in the child abuse investigation said she stands by what was in that report.
"She was always grounded, always punished," the source said.
The person who reported Erica's adoptive mother Casey Parsons to DSS claimed Casey carried "a belt with her" and whipped "the child hard."
"It's not that she was a bad kid," the source told Channel 9. "I never saw her get in trouble. I never saw her do anything. She was very … you could tell her to do something, and she'd run and do it right away."
But when DSS investigated, it found those claims were unfounded. The documents state there were "no signs of cuts, contusions, or scratches" and that Erica showed "no signs of fear with either of the parents going up and sitting on each of their laps without being asked."
Channel 9 asked the source involved to explain why Erica seemed to like being around the parents and why investigators didn't find abuse.
"I think she was probably threatened," the source said. "And like I said, she would do anything you told her to do."
Eyewitness News tried Friday to get the Parsons family to talk about the documents that again found no signs of abuse in that house. Channel 9 had a crew outside their home all day, but they refused to speak. The family attorney has also not returned multiple phone calls from Eyewitness News.