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tx suspects_1550066363515.jpg.jpg(Courtesy of the Wise County Sheriff’s Office)

In Texas Tuesday, authorities responding to a call over a domestic disturbance were truly shocked to find what was really hidden in the home. Four children, 3 boys and a little girl, were found extremely malnourished and mistreated. Two of the children, ages 4 and 5, were found locked inside a makeshift dog cage that was just 3-by-3 feet, in what appeared to be a barn converted into a grungy living space. It is reported, all of the children, ages only ranging from 1 to 5, were quite disheveled, clearly malnourished and covered in a combination of urine and feces.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said “Our deputies and our lieutenant fed and gave water to those children. And due to the malnourishment and other concerns, EMS was called; emergency medical was called,” 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 under the care of their mother, Paige Harkings (24) and her boyfriend, Andrew Fabila (24). Fabila is the biological father of one of the children found. The pair has been arrested on four counts of criminal child endangerment. Harkings also faces an additional charge of one count of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury.

A fight between the couple ensued which caused police to visit the home. Fabila was found with several abrasions on his face when police arrived, according to authorities. Upon speaking with the couple, officers heard voices of children coming from the barn where they were found.

In court Wednesday morning, bond was set at $75,000 for Harkings and $60,000 for Fabila. Neither of them have been appointed attorneys as of yet, officials said. They are both being held at Wise County Jail in Texas.

The children were taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth to be evaluated and they are currently in the custody of Child Protective Services. Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the agency has had contact with the family before, but at a different location.
Sheriff Akin told The Dallas Morning News it’s the worst case of child abuse he has seen in his 44 years in law enforcement. “I’ve not worked one where children are locked inside a dog kennel, and I find that absolutely disgusting,” he said.
A neighbor of the couple was interviewed and was completely shocked by the discoveries. Amber Jester stated that she didn’t know there were children at the home. “You’d think that being right across the street we would know something,” she said. “You’d like to say you would do something. But you don’t know. I guess you never know what people are doing inside of their homes.”

Source: CNN, NBC4i 

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