Grand jury indicts couple accused of child abuse

Grand jury indicts couple accused of child abuse

Credit: Union County Sheriff's Office

Dorian Harper, Wanda Larson

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by WCNC.com Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 10 at 1:27 PM

MONROE, N.C. -- A Union County Grand Jury returned 11 indictments each on the former supervisor of Union County DSS and her boyfriend, who are accused of handcuffing their 11-year-old foster child to their front porch and tying a dead chicken around his neck.

Wanda Sue Larson, 57, the former supervisor of the Union County Department of social services, was indicted Monday by a Union County Grand Jury.

Larson is charged with willful failure to discharge duties, cruelty to animals, misdemeanor child abuse, two counts of false imprisonment, maiming, felony child abuse inflicting serious physical injury, and three counts of felonious child abuse - willful act or omission showing reckless disregard and causing serious physical injury.

(Click here to view photos of the couple's home)

Larson's boyfriend, 57-year-old Dorian Lee Harper, was indicted Monday on the following charges: two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, three counts of felony child abuse inflicting serious physical injury, felonious child abuse - willful act or omission showing reckless disregard and causing serious physical injury, two counts of  false imprisonment, maiming, misdemeanor child abuse and cruelty to animals.

Harper, an emergency room nurse at CMC-Union in Monroe, and Larson are facing animal cruelty due to the conditions of the animals found at their home. Harper has since been placed on administrative leave.

Officials say Larson wasn't home when the deputy found the boy, but was "complicit" in mistreatment of the children, according to a sheriff's statement.

The couple has four other adopted children. The 11-year-old boy allegedly found handcuffed to the porch with the dead chicken tied around his neck was the couple's foster child.

The investigation began when Union County Deputy, working in the animal control department, responded to the couples home in the 4100 block of Austin Road in response to complaints about a loose pig. That deputy reportedly found the 11-year-old boy handcuffed to the porch rail by his ankle, and the chicken, whose feet had been tied together with string, hung around his neck. The boy appeared to be shivering, according to the sheriff’s office.

Moments later, a man came out from the house and questioned the officer about why he was there, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. The deputy asked for an explanation and for the man’s identification. As the man pulled out a driver’s license, another child opened the front door, letting out several large dogs. The animals chased the deputy back to his patrol car off the property, said the statement.

In the time it took to secure the dogs, the sheriff’s office says the man freed the boy from the ankle cuff and took off the chicken.

Backup officers responded and searched the house. Police removed five children, ages 14, 13, 11, 9 and 8, from the home, and began a criminal investigation. They took Harper into custody at the scene.  The children are in the custody of Social Services in another county.

Carolina's Healthcare System confirmed Saturday that Harper is an RN in the CMC Union emergency room. He has been placed on administrative leave.

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NBC Charlotte will not be posting the actual PDF of the indictments, as the children's names are listed.

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