Adoptive parents of missing NC teen face theft of funds charges

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FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina — The adoptive parents of a missing Rowan County teenager are facing federal fraud charges, but the indictment unsealed Wednesday doesn't reveal what might have happened to the girl.

Casey and Sandy Parsons were arrested in Fayetteville, where they moved after their son reported Erica Parsons disappearance to police last year.

The couple has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the government, theft of government funds and mail fraud. Casey also was charged with tax fraud for filing income tax returns with false information about the couple's dependents.

Court documents said the couple continued to collect government benefits, more than $12,000, to help raise the girl, even though she was no longer living with them. No one is sure exactly how long Erica has been missing. When her 20-year-old brother reported her disappearance on July 30, 2013, he said she actually had gone missing a year and a half before that.

Erica was adopted in 2000, when she was just 2, by her uncle and aunt, Sandy and Casey Parsons. The Parsons say they haven't seen Erica since late 2011, when they say she moved to Asheville to live with a woman they believed was her biological grandmother.

Police and the girl's biological mother say that woman does not exist.

A telephone call to the Parsons attorney, Carlyle Sherrill, was not immediately returned Wednesday.

The Parsons moved from their Salisbury home about 40 miles north of Charlotte to the Fayetteville area last year to escape news media attention.

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