Posted on May 15, 2014 at 6:23 PM
Friday, May 16 at 2:32 PM
SALISBURY, N.C. -- A judge ruled Thursday that Casey and Sandy Parsons' two youngest children will remain under the care of their paternal grandfather.
Reunifying the children with Casey and Sandy remains the goal, relatives said.
The couple was in court trying to get their children back after DSS removed them from the family home in Salisbury last summer, after a relative reported Erica Parsons missing. She hasn't been seen at the family home in about a year and a half.
A nationwide search and $35,000 reward has not prompted Erica Parsons’ whereabouts. Investigators consider it a missing person case.
Casey and Sandy Parsons say Erica went to live with a woman named Nan, who they thought was her biological grandmother.
Investigators say Nan doesn't exist and the story isn't true.
Thursday, Casey's mother and aunt talked about the two children, 7 and 9 years old, who have been caught in the middle since the investigation began.
DSS initially removed them from the family home in Salisbury amid allegations Erica was being abused, and because Erica was nowhere to be found.
They kids were put under the care of Shirley Stone, who is Casey's mother and Erica's grandmother.
Then, relatives say the kids were put under the care of Casey's sister, who lived with Stone.
About a month ago, DSS removed the kids again over behavior issues.
Stone says the behavior problem was the kids not being allowed to even mention their parents' names while the sister watched them.
"She wasn't allowed to give her a school picture or have a picture in her room of her mom. She wasn't allowed to talk about her mom. She wasn't supposed to do anything like that," Stone said.
"No matter what people say or what they think about your parents, if they're your parents you still love them at that age especially."
Nobody has been arrested or charged in Erica's disappearance.