September 29, 2016 - 9:21 PM
SALISBURY, N.C. - The body of a North Carolina teenager whose adoptive parents were convicted of tax fraud related to her 2011 disappearance was found this week, officials said Thursday.
The remains of Erica Parsons were discovered in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, according to Chesterfield Sheriff Jay Brooks. He said information from a person close to the case helped investigators find the body.
Testimony at the trial of Casey and Sandy Parsons unveiled a pattern of abusing Erica, who lived with the family in Rowan County from 2000 until she disappeared in 2011 at age 13. She wasn't reported missing until 2013.
In a news release, the Rowan County Sheriff's Office said the skeletal remains found Tuesday were positively identified as Erica Parsons by the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office. The sheriff's office said the investigation into her disappearance and death is continuing.
Investigators have said Casey and Sandy Parsons have been unco-operative, though neither has been charged in the girl's death or disappearance.
The couple claimed the girl went to live in Asheville with a woman they believed to be her biological grandmother, but that woman has never materialized.
Despite her disappearance, federal prosecutors say the couple continued to collect benefits, including monthly adoption assistance checks for $634.
In March 2015, Casey Parsons was sentenced to 10 years in prison for tax fraud and her husband, Sandy, to eight years.
"I've sentenced more than 1,000 people," U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder said to Casey Parsons before handing down her sentence. "I cannot think of another case that has troubled me more."
Schroeder based his decisions in part on a pre-sentencing report that focused on testimony describing in graphic detail the abuse Erica Parsons endured before her disappearance. That included being fed dog food or no food at all, being excluded from family activities and having her arm broken by one of her siblings.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016