A nurse and child protective services worker from Union County, N.C., were jailed Saturday night under a combined bond of more than $1 million after their 11-year-old foster son was accidentally discovered cuffed to the porch of their house with a dead chicken tied around his neck.
The couple, Dorian Lee Harper, 57, an emergency room nurse at CMC-Union in Monroe and Wanda Sue Larson, 57, Union County DSS supervisor, who are parents to four adopted children, are both charged with intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment and animal cruelty, according to WCNC.com.
Based on her job as a DSS supervisor, Larson was also charged additionally with failure to uphold her duty as a public official. Although she wasn't at home when the boy was discovered, she was described as "complicit" in the mistreatment of the children, according to the report.
The sheriff's office explained that an animal control deputy discovered the boy by chance while responding to a complaint about a loose pig on Friday. He was handcuffed to the porch rail by his ankle while a dead chicken with its feet bound by a string, hung from the boy's neck. He appeared to be shivering.
A man, identified as Harper, reportedly emerged from the house moments after the officer's discovery and asked for an explanation for the deputy's presence. The officer asked him for identification and as he was about to present his driver's license, another child emerged from the door of the home, releasing several large dogs which chased the deputy off the property back to his patrol car.
By the time the dogs were subdued Harper freed the boy and removed the chicken. The officer called for backup and they removed five children ages 14, 13, 11, 9 and 8 from the house.
Harper was taken into custody and he has been placed on administrative leave from his job at the CMC Union emergency room.
Officers later charged, Harper and Larson and placed them in custody at the Union County Jail. On Saturday, Harper was being held under a $500,000 secured bond. While Larson's bond was set at $525,000.
"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," said Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey, who called the discovery shocking.
"That's some sick people," said neighbor Harry Wallace, who lives across the street on Saturday. "Sick and ungodly bunch."