After meeting with detectives, Sandy Parsons led them to Erica's remains in rural South Carolina.
As the search for Erica Parsons dragged on for years, her paternal aunt hired a private investigator to help find her niece. Meanwhile, Sandy Parsons wanted to deal.
After meeting with Parsons in August of 2016, detectives said they had a pretty good idea that Erica Parsons was dead. According to a warrant filed on September 27, 2016, Parsons admitted that Erica was dead and described the treatment of her and the disposal of her body. He told police that her body was buried on December 19, 2011, near his mother’s home in Pageland, South Carolina.
Sandy Parsons was then brought to Chesterfield County, where he led investigators down a long dirt road just off Highway 9 that led to an old family-owned farm.
At one point, he stopped and pointed into the woods.
“And it was just as you can see, a little mound of dirt back there just off the road,” said Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks. “You could tell it has been there for a long, long time.”
Brooks said Parsons then became emotional, breaking down while talking to investigators.
“He was very stressed and when he came back out of the woods and they put him in the car, he was crying,” Brooks said.
After several hours of digging, the remains of Erica Parsons were discovered. About a week later, Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten said he believed she was dead long before she was reported missing.
David Mashburn, the detective hired by Erica Parsons' aunt Teresa Goodman, said he was in the Chesterfield County area about three months before the discovery. He said he informed Rowan County investigators about his suspicions, especially the similarities between the farmhouse and the home Casey Parsons described as where she dropped off Erica in 2011.
"It was horrific they found her the way she was," Mashburn said. "Everybody was thinking that maybe she would be alive, but I knew from day one coming into this the inevitable was going to be there."
Goodman never got to meet her niece.
Carlyle Sherrill, the attorney hired to represent the Parsonses, said he felt a “sense of hypocrisy that they had represented things for so long that evidently were not true.”
Sherrill speculated that Parsons was aiming for a plea deal with investigators. Detectives never acknowledged any possible deal with Parsons.
A funeral was held for Erica in February of 2017 with more than 100 family members, friends, and law enforcement officers in attendance.
"We all loved her. It's obvious," said Auten. "We all feel a love and a special place for this child."