- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina senator wants state officials to take over operations of the Union County Department of Social Services after a child abuse case.

Sen. Tommy Tucker of Waxhaw has asked state health officials to take over day-to-day operations in Union County, The Charlotte Observer (https://bit.ly/L47Xkm) reported.

Officials are investigating an 11-year-old boy who was handcuffed to the porch of his guardian’s home in the Monroe area, with a dead chicken around his neck.

The boy’s apparent guardian, Wanda Larson, was a child protective services supervisor with the Union County DSS office. Larson and her boyfriend have been charged with child abuse.

Authorities removed the boy and four other adopted child who range in age from 7 to 14 and placed them with the Davidson County DSS office.

Larson has been fired.

State DSS Director Wayne Black says his agency can take over a local office only if it is not cooperating. Black says that is not the case.

Black said the county Human Services Department director asked the state to investigate its operations, identify any problems and make recommendations.

Tucker was not happy with the explanation.

“I don’t know what urgency it takes that the state doesn’t need to dive in and run that agency day to day,” Tucker said.

Black said his office has been involved since the night the case was reported in mid-November.

Authorities that night were investigating an animal complaint next door when they saw the boy. They arrested Dorian Harper, Larson’s longtime partner. Larson was not home and was later arrested.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, https://www.charlotteobserver.com

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