Mother of youth found with dead chicken around neck awarded permanent custody


The teen at the center of a Union County child abuse case.
The teen at the center of a Union County child abuse case. WBTV

A teen who was abused while in the care of a former Union County social services supervisor is no longer in DSS custody.

His biological mother has been awarded permanent custody. On Wednesday, a Davidson County judge says there will be no more reviews in the child’s case.

To protect the boy’s identity WBTV is calling him Michael. In June, a judge allowed Michael to go home with his mother, Maria, on a trial basis.

Michael was 11 in 2013 when sheriff’s deputies found him on the porch of Wanda Sue Larson and her long-time boyfriend Dorian Harper with a dead chicken tied around his neck. At the time, Larson was the boy’s legal guardian and also a DSS supervisor.

Michael, and four other children ages 7 to 14 who were under Harper and Larson’s care, were removed from the home and placed under the jurisdiction of Davidson County DSS.

Harper was sentenced to up to 10 1/2 years in prison; Larson was sentenced to up to 17 months in jail, served her time and is free.

A Davidson County social worker said that in the past three months, Michael has had several surgeries to correct scars near his eye, started school and the principal said he had a fabulous first week.

Michael is 13. A judge said DSS is relieved of its duties in his case, there would be no further reviews and he recommended Michael continue with extensive therapy.

In an earlier hearing, a caseworker said Michael was removed from a home when he was 3. Maria said he was removed from her sister’s home in Gaston County when one of his cousins was abused.

Observer staff reports contributed