by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:UNION COUNTY, N.C. —
UPDATE (Tuesday, Nov. 19): Union County Sheriff’s deputies originally told Channel 9 on Friday the boy was a foster child, but on Tuesday officials with the Department of Social Services told Channel 9 the couple had legal guardianship over the boy and he was not part of the foster system.
Eyewitness News is learning more about a child abuse case out of Union County.
An officer in the area responding to an animal complaint found an 11-year-old shivering in the cold, handcuffed by his ankle to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck
Dorian Harper, a registered nurse at Carolinas Medical Center in Union County, is on administrative leave. DSS — at the state level — is monitoring the situation because Wanda Larson is a child protective services supervisor for Union County. Now, Larson and her husband are behind bars for felony child abuse.
"I was appalled by it," neighbor Tori Hough said. "I can't imagine what that little boy was feeling."
Four adopted children ranging in age from 8 to 14 were taken from the home on Austin Road. The 11-year-old, who was also taken to safety, was a foster child. Neighbors said they had no idea what was happening.
"His life is permanently altered by someone else's grotesque actions," Hough said. "It is sickening. That's exactly what it is."
When asked about the case, Union County state Rep. Craig Horn said, "Not only is it sad, it's disgusting."
Horn recently pushed for a new child abuse law that more than doubles the maximum penalty for the worst cases. But he told Eyewitness News any prosecution that results from this case won't fall under the new rules because the law doesn't take effect until next month.
To see more local news stories, click here.