Details of Disappearance
Brittany's mother, Rose Marie Thompson, was diagnosed with AIDS three months before Brittany's birth. During the first few years of the child's life, she was often in foster care due to Thompson's chaotic lifestyle.
Thompson gave Brittany to a guardian, Kim E. Parker, shortly before her death in 1996. A photograph of Parker is posted below this case summary. The two women had met through Rainbow Kids Inc., a now-defunct charity which provided long-term care for children with AIDS and other serious medical problems. Parker founded the charity and also cared for other children with special needs.
Parker lived off the Rainbow Kids donations, and the Social Security and Medicaid benefits for the children she cared for. Visitors to the house noted it was filthy, and multiple people who knew Parker reported her for child abuse and neglect.
The last person besides Parker to see Brittany was a doctor whom Brittany visited in August 2000. Around that same time, Parker asked Brittany's adult half-sister to take the child, saying she was troublesome and she couldn't handle her anymore. Brittany's half-sister declined, saying she couldn't handle the girl's medical needs.
Parker then said she would give Brittany to two friends, Linda Hodges or Jones and Kathie Evans. Parker later said she gave Brittany to Hodges and Evans in August 2000. The child's half-sister wanted to keep in touch with her, but Parker refused to provide contact information for the women.
In November 2000, Parker was arrested for truancy because Brittany had not returned to school for the 2000-2001 year. She told the judge that Brittany was no longer in her custody, and the charges were dismissed. Hodges supposedly returned for Christmas that year with Brittany, then left again with the child. Parker says she paid Jones $3,000 cash to take Brittany and later mailed her another $5,000, but she had not heard from either Jones or Brittany since December 2000.
In 2001, Parker had to appear in court to explain why she hadn't taken Brittany to a paternity test. She told the same judge that Brittany was living with relatives, and there was no follow-up from the court. Parker continued to collect the child's $500 monthly benefit check from the Virginia Department of Children and Families until the summer of 2002, using the money to renovate her home. She stated that she expected Brittany to return to her care eventually.
In 2003, a newspaper who had run a story about Brittany tried to do a follow-up story, but Parker told the reporter Brittany no longer lived with her. She said she did not know the addresses of the women allegedly caring for the child; she only said that she thought they were in California.
In January 2003, custody of Brittany was given to the local Social Services Department and they were ordered to find her. The police opened up a missing child investigation. In February, Parker was ordered to serve 20 days in jail for contempt of court in connection with her failure to tell police where Brittany was. Parker protested that she could not tell what she did not know.
In late March 2003, investigators located the two women Parker said she gave Brittany to. They were both volunteers with Rainbow Kids Inc. and had been planning to have Brittany visit them in California, but the plans had not been finalized by the time she disappeared and she never came to see them. Neither of them had ever had custody of Brittany or knew where she was. They have joined in the search for her.
In April 2003, Parker was indicted on 73 felony charges, mostly fraud and money laundering, relating to Brittany's case. Authorities alleged she accepted over $16,000 from private individuals and the government for the care of Brittany when the girl was not living in her home, and that she illegally attempted to conceal the sources of the money.
Parker pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud in July 2003. She was then charged with three counts of medical-assistance payment fraud, for allowing Brittany's Medicaid payments to continue needlessly. Medicaid paid about $8,000 in insurance premiums for Brittany after she left Parker's care.
In May 2003, authorities thoroughly searched Parker's home and drained her septic system, looking for Brittany's remains or any sign that she had died there. A neighbor claimed she reported Parker twice for abusing and/or neglecting Brittany, and Hodges says she reported Parker as well. However, nothing fruitful was found at the residence.
In December 2003, Parker was sentenced to eight years in federal prison on the mail and wire fraud charges. Normally the sentence for such crimes is 10 to 16 months, but the judge imposed a higher sentence in Parker's case due to the harm she caused Brittany. She was also convicted of state charges of Medicaid fraud and sentenced to two years in prison.
Brittany remains missing and her case is unsolved. Her Social Security number and Medicaid insurance card have not been used in any state since her disappearance. Investigators believe she is no longer alive; without using her Medicaid benefits, she would have no way to get the medicine she needs to sustain her life. Foul play is suspected in her case.