Couple remains jailed after child found in handcuffs
UNION COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina married couple remains in jail after authorities said an 11-year-old boy was found handcuffed to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck.
Dorian Lee Harper and Wanda Sue Larson, both 57 and of Union County, face various charges including child abuse, according to the News & Observer.
WSOC-TV reported that Harper is a registered nurse at Carolinas Medical Center in Union County and is on administrative leave.
Larson is a child protective services supervisor for Union County. The North Carolina Division of Social Services is monitoring the situation, according to WSOC.
Union County deputies said the child was found Friday when an officer was investigating an animal service complaint at a neighboring home.
Deputies said the 11-year-old was shivering in the cold, handcuffed by his ankle to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck.
Moments later, deputies said a man appeared on the porch — at 4116 Austin Road — along with another child that released several dogs on the officer.
The deputy reportedly went back to his patrol car and the man then removed the handcuffed child from the porch and put the dead chicken on a barrel.
Officials said the suspects adopted four children and were serving as foster parents for a fifth child.
Deputies said when they searched the home shortly later; they found five children, ages 8, 9, 11, 13 and 14. Authorities said the children have been removed from the home.
“I was appalled by it,” Tori Hough, a neighbor, told WSOC. “I can’t imagine what that little boy was feeling.”
Union County state Rep. Craig Horn described the situation as “sad” and “disgusting.”
Horn recently pushed for a new child abuse law that more than doubles the maximum penalty for the worst cases.
But he said any prosecution that results from this case won’t fall under the new rules because the law doesn’t take effect until next month.
Deputies said the suspects were charged with intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment and cruelty to animals.