Boy rescued from Union Co. foster home, now grown up, reveals identity for first time
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – The boy rescued from the Union County foster home of Wanda Sue Larson and Dorian Harper is revealing his identity for the first time now that he is an adult.
Juan Garcia, who WBTV has previously identified with the pseudonym Michael, sat down for an interview Thursday for the first time in more than five years.
Garcia was rescued from the Larson-Harper home in 2013 after a Union County sheriff’s deputy found him chained to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck. Four other children were also taken out of the home.
For nearly a decade, WBTV has uncovered claims of abuse—both physical and sexual—that took place inside the home.
Larson and Harper were both convicted on child abuse charges and both have now completed their sentences.
Last month, Garcia agreed to settle a legal claim against the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services alleging local county DSS agencies were responsible for the abuse they suffered because they didn’t properly supervise his foster care.
The state agreed to pay Garcia $1 million.
But Garcia said he still wants to see Larson and Harper investigated and prosecuted for the sexual abuse he and other children inside the home have disclosed over the years.
“It’s not about the money, it about looking them in the eyes and telling them what they’ve done to me,” Garcia said.
WBTV first reported on the disclosures of sexual abuse by Garcia and other children in the home in 2017. At the time, we asked Union County District Attorney Trey Robison why he never brought a case, despite what the children had reported.
“We are entirely driven by whatever the evidence is that’s produced during the investigation,” Robison said at the time.
But he did not rule out the possibility of a future case on the claims.
“It would be premature and, probably, inappropriate for me to speculate as to whether that actually ever comes to fruition,” Robison said.
“But I can tell you that if we are presented with specific, credible and admissible evidence that were would be motivated to pursue any charges, wherever they may lead.”
Robison did not respond to a question sent Thursday about whether his office ever re-opened its investigation or if he would re-open the investigation in light of Garcia turning 18 and speaking publicly about the allegations now.
For his part, Garcia says he is doing better than he ever has. He’s now 19 and working. His family is hopeful the settlement will help ensure he can live a normal life after a childhood filled with abuse.
“I’m doing way better than I was,” he said. “I’m glad that sometimes I look back and I, just, I’m thankful for where I’m at today.”
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