Parents Went On Dr. Phil Hoping To Find Their Little Girl - Five Years Later Their Dark Secret Was Revealed

CBS

When they appeared on the Dr. Phil show five years ago, Sandy and Casey Parsons seemed like parents at the end of their rope.

Their adoptive daughter Erica had gone missing two years earlier, when she was just 11 years old.

The Parsons said that Erica had been living with her biological grandmother when she disappeared, and they were still hoping to bring her home safely.

But there were already red flags in this couple's story.

Their oldest biological son, James, had been the one to report Erica missing, two years after she was last seen alive. He accused the Parsons of murdering Erica themselves.

The Parsons and Erica. The Salisbury Post / WBTV

James even alleged that they had buried her body in their backyard.

Casey's sister also alleged that he had tried to sell her one of his children.

When the couple told Dr. Phil they took so long to report Erica's disappearance because she was "a rebellious teen," even the talk show host poked holes in their story.

"Was it OK when your daughter... when you didn't hear from her for a year and a half?” he asked Sandy.

"Yeah, it upset me," he answered, "and yes, I miss her. I still miss her."

But despite claiming they were innocent, the Parsons refused to stay on stage as Dr. Phil read the results of a lie detector test.

The reading showed that Sandy had failed a question asking "are you responsible for the disappearance of your daughter," which his lawyer chalked up to "misreading or misinterpreting the question."

It would be years before the real truth about the Parsons came out.

After Erica's disappearance, the Parsons continued to collect more than $12,000 in adoption assistance payments for her.

Eventually, the pair were both convicted of fraud and other financial crimes, and sentenced to prison.

During their court cases, chilling details about Erica's life with the Parsons were revealed for the first time.

The couple admitted to beating and starving Erica, who was partially deaf and small for her age.

They also admitted in court to locking Erica in a closet as punishment, and James Parsons said the last time he saw his adoptive sister she looked "like a zombie."

Rowan County Sheriff's Office

After being sent to prison, Sandy admitted that he had helped to "discard" Erica's body, and led investigators to the shallow grave where it was buried.

This month, a grand jury indicted the Parsons for first degree murder, child abuse, and crimes relating to disposing of Erica's body.

It seems like justice is finally being served for Erica, who would be 20 this year, but many are asking what took so long.

This just goes to show...the truth always comes out!

[H/T: In Touch, CBS News, Charlotte Observer]