POSTED: Saturday, November 16, 2013 - 2:57pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 10:36am
(CNN) — A North Carolina deputy responding to a complaint about an animal made a shocking discovery Friday at the residence next door -- a child found shivering and handcuffed to a front porch with a dead chicken around his neck.
The deputy saw a "10-12 year old child secured to the front porch at the ankle, by what appeared to be a pair of handcuffs," according to the news release from the Union County Sheriff's Office. Moments later, authorities said Dorian Lee Harper, 57, appeared on the porch and asked the deputy why he was there.
The deputy asked Harper for identification and asked why the child was handcuffed to the porch, authorities said.
Another child inside the house opened the front door, letting out several large dogs. The dogs chased the deputy back to his patrol car and authorities said Harper removed the child from the porch and left the dead chicken outside on a barrel.
When additional officers arrived at the house, south of Monroe, authorities searched the residence. Authorities removed five children, ages 8, 9, 11, 13 and 14, from the home and began an investigation, based on the living conditions and items observed during the removal of the children.
Monroe is approximately 25 miles southeast of Charlotte.
Harper and Wanda Sue Larson, both 57, face charges of international child abuse inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment and cruelty to animals, officials said.
Harper lived at the residence with Larson, a supervisor with Union County Department of Social Services, according to the news release. Both had adopted four of the children and were serving as foster parents for the 11-year-old found on the porch.
Larson also faces charges of willful failure to discharge her duty as a public official.
When asked about Larson's arrest, Brett Vines, public information officer for Union County, told HLN "We can't comment as the incident is under investigation."
HLN, the sister network of CNN, has been unable to determine whether Larson and Harper have legal representation.
The sheriff's office said Larson was not present at the time of the incident, but she is accused of being complicit in the ongoing mistreatment of the children.
Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey called the incident "shocking."
"I can assure you that we have only just begun our investigation into what has happened, and we will pursue it to its fullest extent," he said.
Harper is being held under a $500,000 secured bond. Larson's bond is set at $525,000. Both are in the Union County Jail and are expected to appear in court on Monday.
The children are now in custody of a Social Services agency outside of Union County.