WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - A North Carolina social worker has been charged after her 11-year-old foster child was found chained to the porch of her home with a dead chicken hanging around his neck, a sheriff's official said on Saturday.
Wanda Sue Larson, 57, was arrested and charged with child abuse and false imprisonment on Friday after a deputy found the boy shivering and handcuffed by his ankle to the front porch, the Union County, North Carolina, sheriff's office said.
Larson, a supervisor at the county's social services department, was not home when the child was discovered but is accused of being complicit in the mistreatment, according to sheriff's officials.
Authorities also arrested Dorian Lee Harper, 57, who along with Larson was serving as a foster parent to the child. The couple also has four adopted children.
"It's just shocking," Captain Ronnie Whitaker said on Saturday. "It's just disturbing that anyone would treat a child in such a manner."
It is unclear what prompted the use of the dead chicken and handcuffs on the boy. Whitaker said he could not disclose details from police interviews conducted as part of the investigation.
Larson and Harper remained jailed on Saturday. They each face charges of intentional child abuse that inflicted serious injury, false imprisonment and cruelty to animals, with the latter allegation based on the condition of some of the family pets, the sheriff's office said.
Larson also is charged with willful failure to discharge her duty as a public official.
The five children, ages 14, 13, 11, 9 and 8, have been removed from the home and put in the care of a social services agency outside of Union County, the sheriff's office said.
(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Eric Beech)