Adopted brother, others speak out after boy handcuffed to porch - WNEM TV 5

Adopted brother, others speak out after boy handcuffed to porch

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Demonstrators were demanding answers about who is protecting children in Union County.  They gathered outside the courthouse Wednesday morning. 

They said the case of this couple arrested after a boy was found handcuffed with a dead chicken around his neck is proof that something is very wrong with the system.

The eleven-year old boy is in now in protective custody away from the home of Wanda Sue Larson and Dorian Harper. One of the couple's grown adopted children gave his reaction to the accusations about his mom and dad. 

Wanda Sue Larson, the woman arrested on Friday was a supervisor for Union County's DSS child protective services.  People argued her arrest is an indication there are many more issues with the department.

"Unfortunately, it does take a tragedy for eyes to be opened," said Michael Alvarez, Mayor of Indian Trail."

But The Union County Sheriff said at this time they cannot focus on all of those issues. 

"We have got to learn the process of DSS. We can't manage the DSS.  To say that we are looking into other cases.  We are not," said Sheriff Eddie Cathey, "We're going to manage this case see where it goes." 

And many are asking how did it start? How did Dorian Harper and Wanda Sue Larson gain guardianship of the 11-year-old boy?.

His biological mother, Maria said the boy was taken from her sister's home eight years ago in Gaston County with his two cousins, due to abuse. 

"They kept all the kids together," said Maria, "I never bothered them about it because they were together.  He wasn't alone."  

She said over time the cousins were adopted by Larson and Harper.

"They wanted to terminate my parental rights with me, the judge refused," said Maria, "So, then they gave her guardianship."  

Maria said she looked up to Wanda Sue Larson. 

"I don't really blame her for the handcuffing to the rail.  I don't hold that against her because I don't know if she knew about it," said Maria. 

Wanda Sue Larson's oldest adoptive son, Michael agreed. He doesn't know if his mom knew what Dorian Harper was doing. 

"Dorian's methods of punishment was extreme. I don't condone it. I do not agree with it," said Michael Harper-Larson, "I can see a reason behind it, but it doesn't make it right." 

Harper-Larson said his younger adoptive brother was troubled.  

"The punishments he received were extreme because his behavior was extreme," said Harper-Larson.

Harper-Larson said he does know the children are all together in another county.  He does not know if he will see them again. Harper-Larson also said he believes the conditions in the home were exaggerated by police.

"I saw the deplorable living conditions outside that house and inside that house," said Cathey at the courthouse Wednesday morning.

We asked him about 911 calls that may have come from the five children living in the home in the past. 

Cathey said his deputies did respond to other calls, but none of them threw up red flags like what happened last week when an 11-year-old boy was left in cold weather and handcuffed to the porch.

He said many times the kids or parents would say the kids were playing with the phones. 

"We do have some 911 hang ups out there and our officers have responded to those residents and checked on those kids but they were hang ups,"  said Cathey, "One of them--was one kid was out in the yard, a 14 year old.  He said no we're here nothing is going on.  Nobody to talk to."

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