Boy tortured in DSS care is going home to mom

By Pamela Escobar


The boy who suffered at the hands of a DSS supervisor and an ER nurse is going home to his mom. 

WBTV first reported about the now 13-year-old boy when a Union County sheriff deputy found him handcuffed to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck in November of 2013. 

Dorian Harper was sentenced to at least six years in prison, Wanda Sue Larson served her time and is free, but the boy who was tortured in their home remains in DSS custody.

Wednesday, Maria Harris was in Davidson County court to learn where her son would live next. Harris is the mom in this case and she's asked WBTV continue to refer to her son as Michael. 

Michael's 5th grade graduation was Wednesday, but Harris couldn't be at school because she was in court hoping that she could bring him home. 

The 11-year-old boy, who was found on a Union County porch in 2013, has been in the care of DSS in Davidson County. 

In court, a caseworker explained he was removed from a home when he was 3-years-old. Harris says he was removed from her sister's home in Gaston County and was living with a DSS supervisor, Wanda Sue Larson in Union County. 

"I'm glad, who have a clean, people who have no contact with her were able to see my case. They saw me for who I truly was. It took nine years," Harris said.

During the custody hearing, the caseworker did not get into the details about what happened in 2006 or why Michael was placed in Wanda Sue Larson's home by DSS. She just said those circumstances have been resolved.

Harris says her son was removed from her sister's home when one of his cousins was abused. "From there they said, he had some rotten teeth, so they put as just dental neglect. That was it. So that's where everything started from there," Harris said.

And she hopes it's all ending.

"Still got to do therapy, help through his problems, I'm ready for it. And he gets to come home for a trial placement and a review in 90 days to come home permanently," Harris explained what happened in court.

During the hearing, the DSS caseworker confirmed that Michael has been visiting his mom on the weekends and he wants to be back with his mom.

"So today not only did I get the news that my baby is coming home, he graduated, so yeah," Harris said.

Harris said her son hopes to skip two grades to be on the grade level that he should be. While he was living with Harper and Larson, he was pulled out of school. 

The judge in this case congratulated Harris and said this is where her son wants to be. She reminded Harris to keep providing him structure because that's what he needs. 

This is a trial period. 

Harris will be back in court in September to find out if this placement becomes permanent.

Union County prosecutors said in the past Harris' son was tortured. He was burned, beaten and tied up during the day and when he slept in Harper and Larson's home. 

"He's strong. He's a strong kid. Got through what most adults couldn't handle. And he's striving in life now," Harris said.

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