Children found locked inside dog cage, father and mother arrested

Children found malnourished and locked inside dog kennel at Texas home

Sheriff's deputies discovered four malnourished children, including two locked inside a dog cage, when they responded to a domestic disturbance at a Northeast Texas home.

Inside the barn, deputies found two children locked in a dog kennel who showed signs of malnutrition and two others who also appeared to be malnourished and were only partially clothed and smeared with feces and urine.

The chief deputy said deputies found a refrigerator in the makeshift residence with three straps on it, positioned so the children couldn't access it.

Spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales says the three boys, ages 5, 3 and 1, and a 4-year-old girl, are "doing OK", but declined to share details. While officers were speaking with the pair about the potential family violence, they heard children inside. Both are charged with four counts of child endangerment.

"I've not worked one where children are locked inside a dog kennel, and I find that absolutely disgusting", he said.

"The others appeared malnourished, covered in urine and faeces", Sheriff Akin said.

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Wise County Emergency Medical Services personnel transported all of the children to Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth for evaluation.

Akin says the children's mother and a man at the home have been arrested on four counts each of child endangerment. Law enforcement found the children earlier in the day on the property near Rhome, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Fort Worth.

Fabila had to be taken to the hospital for wounds on his face before being charged but was taken to jail after his treatment.

Paige Harkings is the biological mother of the children and her boyfriend, Andrew Fabila, is the biological father of one child, according to authorities.

She claimed that she and her 12 siblings were being held against their will by their parents, would often leave them shackled and taunt them with food.

According to Sheriff Lane Akin, the man's face was covered in scratches when authorities arrived on the scene. Akin called it the worst case of child abuse he has seen in his 44-year career.

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