New Details about the Larson-Harper Children
MONROE, N.C. - It's been said in certain Union County circles, "God sent a pig to save a child." Sheriff Eddie Cathey says, "There's a lotta truth in that." Cathey explains an animal services officer got a call in November about a pig rooting in a neighbor's yard. The animal ran into the woods. The officer could have left. But he didn't. He says, "He followed that pig. That pig led him to that little boy tied on that porch."
That little boy was the tip of the iceberg of what has become a massive investigation into the Union County Department of Social Services. The boy's caretakers? Dorian Harper, a nurse, and Wanda Sue Larson, a Child Protective Services Supervisor. Cathey says, "You just can't think that human beings, reputable people with good-paying, well-respected jobs, live like that."
Cathey describes the house where the boy, and four other kids, were found as something out of a horror movie. Animals in cages. Feces all over the floor. He says, "We've got barns in a lot better shape than that house was."
And the kids were starving, says Cathey. He says, "You look at 'em and you look at a kid that looks to be seven years old, weighs 40 pounds. And then you realize he's 11 years old."
The Sheriff, and others on scene, reached into their own pockets that November day. Cathey says, "With the thought being, we're gonna feed them what they want. Whether it's pizza or junk food or Burger King or McDonalds, didn't make any difference, and that's what we did."
Cathey says the kids almost ate themselves sick, worried they might not get another meal. Cathey says the children were only getting two small meals a day. That constant, aching hunger was the reason behind that little boy with the dead chicken tied to his neck. "The chicken had been killed to eat. And he was being punished for killing the chicken," says Cathey.
The Sheriff talked to WCCB News @ Ten anchor Morgan Fogarty at the end of the driveway where the kids were found. He says, "It makes you think all the things that had gone on on this property before we found it."
And it started with that pig, that some say God sent to save a child. Cathey says, "Sooner or later, one of those children woulda' been dead there."
One of the boys had a favorite dog that the Sheriff had cleaned up and taken to him. Cathey checked on the kids this week and says they're doing very well—and still eating a lot. All five are together with the same foster family.