Officers Responding to a Couple Fighting Discover Four Malnourished Children. Two Were Locked in Dog Cages

by San Eli News

A North Texas couple faces various felony charges after police discovered four malnourished children in their barn on Tuesday.

Deputies responded to a domestic disturbance call involving Andrew Joseph Fabila and Paige Isabow Harkings around 7:20 a.m., WBALTV 11 reports.

The two had been fighting and deputies noticed Fabila had cuts on his face.

While speaking with the couple, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said they heard children’s voices coming from the barn.

When deputies entered the barn, they said it’d been “crudely fashioned” into a residence.

In the bedroom, they discovered a 5-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl locked in a 3-by-3 foot dog cage. Further, they found 3-year-old and 1-year-old boys partially clothed and covered in feces and urine.

Akin commented:

“I’ve not worked one where children are locked inside a dog kennel, and I find that absolutely disgusting.”

As WBALTV 11 reports, Harkings is the mother of all the children and Fabila is the father of one. All of the children were hungry and thirsty. Akin described the case as the worst he’s seen in his 44-year-long career.

As WBALTV 11, Akin said:

“There was plenty of food inside the barn, but the refrigerator and the cabinets had been locked so the kids could not get in to get food.”

The children were transported to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth for examination. However, their conditions have not been disclosed.

According to Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the agency has been in contact with the family before at a different location. She said the children are not in the state’s custody yet.

According to WBALTV 11, officers charged each of the parents with four counts of criminal child endangerment. Further, Harkings was also charged with aggravated assault.