• Deputies responded to embroiled Union Co. home in past

    By: Torie Wells


    UNION COUNTY, N.C. - Eyewitness News learned new information about visits law enforcement and emergency personnel made to a Union County couple's home before they were arrested on child abuse charges.

    Wanda Larson and Dorian Harper are charged after the Sheriff's Office says it found an 11-year-old boy handcuffed to a porch, with a dead chicken tied around his neck.

    From 2009-2011, Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said three 911 hangup calls came from the Larson and Harper home. The first two times, communications called back and the parents said everything was fine it was kids playing on the phone, he said.

    In December 2011, the sheriff said they received the third 911 hangup call and an officer responded.

    "They interviewed the parents and all the children. None of the children would say they called 911," he said.

    The sheriff said the officer noted the kids were a little dirty, they had been playing outside, but no one seemed injured.

    He said that from 2009-2013 there was also a medical call to the home, a call for brush on a fire and an assault call for an incident between Harper and an older son in his 20s. The sheriff said the magistrate felt it was a family squabble and no charges were filed.

    In December 2012, the sheriff said the same officer was called to a neighbor's home where the 11-year-old had wandered.

    "That child was at a neighbor's residence asking for food and on that call, he told her he didn't know where he lived," Cathey said.

    He said that officer filed a complaint with the Department of Social Services, noting the incident and what she said were minimal conditions outside the home. He said she received a letter back from DSS saying, "The report has not been accepted for investigation because the problem described, if true, does not meet any statutory definition of abuse, neglect or dependency."

    Eyewitness News asked a Union County spokesperson what that response meant. We were told it can't comment on any incident involving Larson.

    It did say it has asked another county to come in and review this incident to make sure Union County did everything it should. It said that is above and beyond what is typical in this situation.

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