I’ve lived in North Carolina for roughly about 15 years now. I love living in the south. The people are friendlier, it doesn’t snow as much, the cost of living is cheaper, etc. I often find myself defending the south against the stereotypes that it’s filled with ignorant rednecks. This story makes it hard for me to do that. Granted this story could have happened in any state but it didn’t. It happened in mine.
Yesterday 57-year-olds Dorian Lee Harper and Wanda Sue Larson of Union County, North Carolina were arrested after an 11-year-old boy was found on their property handcuffed to the porch by his ankle with a dead chicken tied around his neck. Sadly there’s way too much to this story than just that.
First off police were first summoned to the property on a call of a loose pig. That’s not a euphemism for anything. Apparently the suspects had animals on their property that according to one neighbor ranged from pigs to llamas. That’s when the officer found the boy shackled to the porch with the aforementioned dead chicken tied around his neck. While the officer was looking for answers a man came out of the house and so did another child who unwittingly released the dogs that were in the house who went straight after the officer. The officer retreated to the safety of his patrol car. The man in question allegedly unchained the boy and took the chicken from off of his neck.
It turns out that the 11-year-old boy was a foster child. Four other children were removed from the home. Their ages run from 8 to 14 and are said to have been adopted by the couple. Now for the rotten cherry on top of this trailer trash sundae. Not only is Harper an emergency room nurse at the local hospital Larson is a DSS Supervisor. That’s right kids, she works for the government agency that takes away other people’s kids.
While the articles haven’t specifically mentioned any motives I think it’s obvious what the motive is here. Good old-fashioned greed. If she works for the DSS she may have knowledge of certain financial incentives that the government may give to foster or adoptive families. With him being an ER nurse he may have intimate knowledge on how to inflict punishment on a child without leaving visible marks. All speculation on my part but it does make a certain kind of sense doesn’t it.
What I really want to know is why did the boy have a dead chicken tied around his neck. The thing that keeps coming back to my mind is The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. (Later retold by Iron Maiden) In that poem the Mariner is forced to wear an albatross around his neck after he kills it because his shipmates view the bird as a sign of good luck. Did this kid kill their lucky chicken? I may be on to something with that because I just found a message board from people who raise their own chickens who said back in the ‘old days’ if a dog killed one of their chickens they’d tie the dead chicken around the dog’s neck to not only discipline it but to make the dog fear the chickens.
My lovely and talented wife also brought up a good point. While Larson is stewing in Union County lock up how many of her cellies do you think had kids taken away by DSS?
Thanks to Lucy and Risskia for the tip.
UPDATE: One of my Facebook friends suggested that this is their way of calling the boy a coward.