SALISBURY, N.C. -- The parents of a missing teen say allegations they aren't telling the truth are tearing them apart, and they want answers, too.
Casey and Sandy Parsons, through their attorney Carlyle Sherrill, also say they are questioning the motive behind an older brother reporting 15-year-old Erica Lynn Parsons' disappearance.
"They love Erica very much, that when they left Erica she was in good hands and she was safe and she was happy," Sherrill said Thursday outside the Parsons family home in Salisbury.
The parents claim Erica left home with a friend or relative of a biological parent and planned to stay with them in the mountains near Asheville.
Sherrill says after a while the family tried to contact the person with whom Erica left. They aren't sure who that person was.
"They found the phone number was disconnected," Sherrill said.
Sherrill says the family was having trouble at home around the time Erica left, and cites run-ins with James Parsons as one reason why.
Court records show the brother was charged in 2010 with biting his 3-year-old brother on the arm. In 2011, court records show James Parsons was charged with cruelty to animals for allegedly trying to strangle a dog. Records show he was also charged in 2011 with another count of assault on a child and two counts of assault on a female, including his mother Casey Parsons.
All but one charge was dropped because the family did not want to prosecute and did not show up in court, officials say.
"Is the woman who is going to dismiss a case against a son who assaulted her the same type of woman who is going to kill her daughter? It doesn't make sense," Sherrill said.
A neighbor says the Parsons are some of the best people he's ever met and they're always willing to take in kids needing help.
A close relative of the Parsons says he thinks something happened to Erica and they're not talking about.
Nobody has been charged in Erica's disappearance or even officially named a suspect.
Sherrill says the Department of Social Services removed two juveniles from the Parsons home the day he was hired him to represent them, despite a recent inspection that says kids at the house were in no harm.
Investigators are not talking about the case.