• Rowan Co. Sheriff: ‘Progress being made in Erica Parsons' case'

    By: Stephanie Coueignoux


    ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - Channel 9 expected to learn more Tuesday about the investigation into the disappearance of Erica Parsons from the mouth of Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten.

    But the sheriff's office canceled the scheduled afternoon briefing around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, giving no reason why and stating that the briefing would not be rescheduled.

    See more on this story in the special section on this case.

    In an email sent to media outlets, the sheriff's office said that they are making progress in the case but have not had any reported sightings of Erica and that they are doing everything in their power to find her.

    The sheriff's office also stated, "Everyone should rest assured that the decisions we make are in the best interest of this investigation and the search to find Erica. We appreciate your continued efforts to help us publicize our search for Erica."

    Channel 9 reached out to family members of Erica Tuesday morning, who said they were not surprised that the sheriff canceled the briefing, and expressed disappointment with the sheriff's office.

    Investigators haven't charged anyone, nearly one year after Erica's brother reported her missing.

    Wednesday marks a year since Erica was reported missing and investigators said there are very little clues about her disappearance.

    TIMELINE: Erica Parsons case

    Erica's adoptive brother reported her missing on July 30 last year, but the teen hasn't been seen since November, 2011 when she was just 13 years old.

    Last month the lead detective on the case resigned but the sheriff's office said other detectives are actively working with the FBI and the SBI to find Erica.

    Erica's adoptive parents -- Casey and Sandy Parsons -- said Erica went to live with her biological grandmother in Ashville.
    But investigators have repeatedly said that that grandmother doesn't exist. They believe Casey and Sandy Parsons are not telling the truth.

    Family members expressed disappointment at the lack of new information released by investigators Tuesday morning.
    "The questions that have been asked, have been asked before," said Parsons' family attorney Carlyle Sherrill.
    Family members told Channel 9 that sheriff's detectives have told them Erica Parsons is dead.
    A search of Parsons' family property also yielded evidence of possible human remains, according to search warrants filed in the case.
    But Eyewitness News asked Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten what evidence led detectives to make that statement to Erica's family.
    Investigators said, "The Sheriff's Office has no confirmed information that Erica is deceased and we cannot respond to claims about the investigation. The physical evidence has been processed by the FBI's lab and we cannot disclose the results to protect our ongoing investigation."
    "They seem to be contradicting themselves," Sherrill said. "I think that's the conclusion some of the investigators have reached in their own minds."
    Auten also said his office has not arrested Casey or Sandy Parsons because he deals with facts and evidence, not speculation.
    "There is a new law in North Carolina about how much time you have to report a child missing, but it did not go into effect until December 2013," Auten said.
    Earlier this month, Channel 9 reported FBI agents once again interviewed the Parsons. Authorities have said they suspect foul play but no one has been charged.

    On Friday Erica's biological mother, Carolyn Parsons, has planned a candlelight vigil to keep the search for Erica alive.

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