NORTH CAROLINA – According to NBC News, A social services supervisor in Union County is one of two adults criminally charged after police say they found a boy handcuffed to their porch with a dead chicken hanging from his neck.
Officers responded to the home on Friday.
A deputy approached the house after checking out an animal complaint next door. As he got closer, the officer saw an 11-year-old boy secured to the porch at his ankle by handcuffs, as well as the chicken draped 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. 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 the patrol car.
In the time it took to secure the dogs, police say the man detached the boy from the porch and took off the chicken.
Backup officers then responded and searched the house. Police removed five children, ages 14, 13, 11, 9 and 8, from the home. The officers also began a criminal investigation. They took the man, 57-year-old Dorian Lee Harper, into custody at the scene.
Police also arrested 57-year-old Wanda Sue Larson. Both face numerous charges including inflicting serious injury, intentional child abuse and cruelty to animals, based on the conditions of some of the family pets. Larson, a supervisor with the Union County Department of Social Services, is also charged with willful failure to discharge her duty as a public official.
Officers booked both suspects into the Union County Jail. Harper is being held under a $500,000 secured bond. Larson’s bond is set at $525,000.
Larson and Harper adopted four of the children. The suspects were fostering the fifth, the child cuffed to the porch. Social Services took custody of all five.
Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey called the incident shocking.
“I can assure you that we have only just begun our investigation into what has happened, and we will pursue it to its fullest extent,” he said.