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Woman Faces Unlawful Conduct Toward a Child Charge in Incident From Last Year

Daniel Prince

Investigation began after woman dropped off her stepson at Public Safety Department and left

A Union woman faces two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child in a case that dates back to June 2021. Cpl. Robert Hope was alerted by DSS in July 2021 that the victim in the case, who had been placed in the temporary custody of his maternal aunt due to the incident, had drawn something that contained several self-degrading statements. The DSS case worker told Hope that the victim wrote down the statements that his stepmother would say to him and revealed mental and physical abuse at the hands of his stepmother. An investigation was done, and 40-year-old Larissa Ferguson Means was arrested and charged.

According to the original incident report detailing the events named in the arrest warrants, Means dropped off her 15-year-old stepson at Union Public Safety Headquarters and left. Firefighter Jay Browning stated a female brought a male juvenile inside the police department and told Browning she was done and that the juvenile is no longer her responsibility. She then told the juvenile not to tell police her name and stated she was not going to jail over him. She then got in her car and left. Browning alerted Sgt. Gaston, who came to headquarters and spoke with the boy, who said it was his birthday. He said he and his brother were playing basketball and got into an argument, but that they made up and started playing again. He stated after his father left to go the store, his brother told his stepmother that the two of them had gotten into an argument and he was bullying him. The boy said his stepmother was upset and told him she could not deal with him anymore and drove him to the police station.

Sgt. Gaston used Lawtracks to look up and identify the woman as Larissa Ferguson Means. He then called DSS to advise them of the situation, and they sent a case worker to place the boy in emergency protective custody. The boy stated that a year or two previous, Means had pulled a gun on him and put it to his head after he stated he wanted to be with his mother that had passed away. The later DSS investigation found that the incident with the gun actually took place only a week or two prior to Means leaving the juvenile at the Public Safety Headquarters. The arrest warrant states that Means also put the gun in the juvenile’s mouth.

The DSS caseworker got in touch with the juvenile’s father, who stated his son needed a change of scenery and that Means took him to the police station to talk to an officer. He said his son had been acting out and they did not want him at their home, and he could not stay there acting as he did. He stated his son had burned bridges with most other family members and they wouldn’t let him stay with them, either. The caseworker spoke to Means, as well, who also stated the boy had been acting out, and he could no longer stay with her family.

The caseworker told Means an investigation would be opened on the family, after which the woman became hysterical and stated it was not fair that her family would be put through another investigation because of the boy. The report noted that neither Means or the boy’s father asked where he would be going, how they could provide assistance for him, or if they could come and pick him up. The boy’s aunt was contacted and came to Public Safety Headquarters. The officer and caseworker briefed her on what happened and where he would be going. The boy was then transported to the Union DSS office.

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