Photo: Union County Sheriff's Office
A social services supervisor and a nurse face child abuse charges
after an 11-year-old North Carolina boy was found handcuffed to a porch,
shivering, with a dead chicken around his neck, Union County
Sheriff Eddie Cathey told USA TODAY the child was
discovered Friday in frigid temperatures after neighbors complained
about animals running loose at the home outside Monroe. Cathey said a
deputy began interviewing Dorian Lee Harper, an emergency room nurse and
the boy's foster parent, about the boy when another child opened the
door and released several dogs that chased the deputy away.
deputies arrived and searched the home, finding five children, ages 14,
13, 11, 9 and 8. Harper and Wanda Sue Larson, both 57, had adopted four
of the children and had been fostering the fifth, the child handcuffed
to the porch, Cathey said.
Larson is a supervisor with the Union County Department of Social
Services. Cathey said his deputies had a good working relationship with
Larson - and that both suspects were well-respected in their
"It's shocking to see how they lived," Cathey said.
"The conditions were horrible. Trash, filth, animals and animal waste
inside and outside the home. You could barely breath inside that house."
the children were taken into custody by a social services department
from a neighboring county, Cathey said. Both parents are charged with
intentional child abuse, inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment
and cruelty to animals. Larson also is charged with willful failure to
discharge her duty as a public official.
Harper's bail was set to $500,000, Larson's at $525,000. Both face hearings Monday.
investigation has only just begun," Cathey said. "We are fortunate that
we were called. Sooner or later this situation could have ended in a