Court records: DSS called twice on Larson home before boy found chained to porch

Court records: DSS called twice on Larson home before boy found chained to porch

MONROE, NC (WBTV) - Court records recently obtained by WBTV are shedding new light on the supervision - or lack thereof - of the children in the care of Wanda Sue Larson and her boyfriend Dorian Harper in the years before a child was found chained to the front porch of her home with a dead chicken around his neck.

WBTV obtained a copy of the juvenile custody file of that boy, identified as J.G. in recent court filings.

The documents, which remain under seal with the clerk of court, detail how J.G. came to be in Larson's custody, what investigators found after they searched the Larson-Harper home and the consequences years of abuse has taken on the child.

The records also document two calls to DSS caseworkers about possible abuse at the Larson-Harper home years before J.G. and four other children were removed from the home in 2013.

According to the court records, the Larson-Harper home was investigated in 2008 and again in 2011. Both allegations were determined to be unfounded, the court records show.

"In 2008, (child's name redacted) told someone that Ms. Larson's boyfriend, Mr. Dorian Harper, would spank him with a belt and push him down on the floor," the record states. "The investigation was sent to another county for completion. Although the older children did admit that they would sometimes get spanked with a belt, the case was unsubstantiated, as there were no marks or bruises seen on any of the children."

It is not clear which outside agency investigated the 2008 claim. A spokesman for Union County refused to answer any questions for this story, including which agency outside Union County investigated the 2008 claim. Caseworkers were called a second time in 2011.

"In 2011, an investigation was initiated because (female child's name redacted) made statements that her older brothers, (male child's name redacted)… would 'hump' her. In addition, allegations were made that the child and her blanket often smelled and she was often absent from school," the court records show.

Despite the allegations, it is not clear whether proper protocol was followed to investigate the girl's claims. Unlike with the 2008 claim, there is nothing in the records to indicate an agency outside of Union County was called to investigate.

What the record does say, though, is that Larson was allowed to have input into how the claim should be investigated.

"During the investigation, (female child's name redacted) made no disclosures of abuse. A Child Advocacy Center was not utilized, as Ms. Larson told the investigator that because (female Child's name redacted) had been abused when she was a baby that she was too developmentally delayed for an interview to be valid and she would also be traumatized by it," the record states.

Years later, J.G.'s mother said she could not believe investigators had been called years before her son was found chained to a porch, dressed in dirty clothes and shivering from the cold.

"Every single person who had the chance to help these kids and for some reason or another decided to look it over and say there was nothing legitimate to it, I hope every one of them pay," she said.

Now, J.G.'s mother and a guardian ad litem are suing Union County and Larson, seeking justice for what happened to the boy in Larson's custody.

But as they push for justice, new court filings show some agencies involved in J.G.'s DSS case are refusing to provide information that would help answer where the system failed.

Watch WBTV News on Thursday night at 6 p.m. to find out which counties are refusing to hand over information and what that information could reveal.

Copyright 2018 WBTV. All rights reserved.