ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. -- The Office of Chief Medical Examiner released new details regarding the death of Erica Parsons, a Rowan County teenager whose disappearance garnered national headlines.
On Tuesday, the medical examiner ruled Parsons' death as homicide violence of undetermined means.
According to the documents, several family members reported that Erica was subjected to longstanding physical and emotional abuse by her adoptive parents. These reports include accounts of beatings with a belt buckle that broke the skin, episodes of being choked and thrown to the ground, her hands being slammed in the door, her fingers being bent all the way back, one episode in which a tooth was knocked out, being forced to sleep in a closet, being forced to eat dog food, being deprived of food and malnourishment.
At one point, one of Erica's arm was reportedly fractured and a homemade cast was applied to avoid seeking medical attention.
Parsons was first reported missing by her older brother James in July 2013. He told investigators he hadn't seen her since November of 2011 when she was 13 years old. Parsons' adoptive parents said she went to live with relatives in Asheville. Investigators later proved that claim to be false.
The teenager's remains were later discovered in September 2016 in a wooded area in Chester County.
In weeks prior to her disappearance in 2011, documents from the medical examiner's office say Parsons' siblings described Erica as, "looking gray with sunken eyes, smelling bad with open, oozing cuts, very weak and complaining of not being able to breathe."
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