Sentencing hearing reveals hard life for teen missing from North Carolina home since 2011

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WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina — A judge in Winston-Salem has delayed sentencing for the adoptive parents of a teen missing from her home since 2011.

Multiple media outlets reported that Sandy and Casey Parsons were to be sentenced Wednesday in Winston-Salem on tax fraud charges.

But U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder delayed the sentencing until March 27 as Wednesday's hearing revealed the conditions under which Erica Parsons lived before she disappeared in 2011 at age 13. She was not reported missing until 2013.

U.S. Attorney Anand Ramaswamy offered testimony about the girl's living conditions in an attempt to increase the sentence for the couple on the tax fraud charges.

Twenty-one-year-old James Parsons testified that he and other children in the family routinely abused the girl. Parsons said he once broke her arm.

He said he abused the girl from the time he was age 5 and stopped when he was 16.

"I didn't want to hit her no more - I couldn't stand it," Parsons said.

He said Casey Parsons encouraged the other children to abuse Erica, and he saw his mother often beat her.

"She would beat her with a belt if she didn't listen," James Parsons said.

"Dad would hit her with his fist on top of her head," James Parsons said of his father, Sandy Parsons.

Food was often withheld from her as punishment, he said. If she'd steal a cookie or something else to eat, she'd be fed canned dog food by her adoptive mother.

FBI agent Tara Cataldo testified that investigators, armed with a search warrant, inspected the Parsonses' home in August 2013.

Carpet and wall board from a closet were sent to the FBI laboratory, and traces of Erica's blood and other DNA - believed to be from saliva or urine - were detected, she said.

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