Feb. 13 (UPI) — Four malnourished children, two of whom were locked inside a dog kennel, were found by Wise County Sheriff’s deputies during a disturbance call in Texas Tuesday morning.
The parents, Andrew Fabila and Paige Harkings, both 24, face four charges of child negligence, authorities said. Harkings was additionally charged with aggravated assault.
“The four children have been taken to Cook’s (Children’s Medical Center) in Fort Worth to be examined,” Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said Tuesday in a telephone interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Wise County deputies discovered the children after receiving a report of domestic violence at a residence in Newark, about 30 miles north of Fort Worth.
When police arrived, they found Fabila with cuts to his face and heard children inside the home, the sheriff said.
A 5-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl were discovered inside a 3-foot by 3-foot cage, while the two other boys, ages 3 and 1, were discovered inside the home. All of them were said to be malnourished and covered in waste.
Food was also found inside the home but it had been locked away and out of the reach of the children, WFAA reported, adding that deputies fed the children before they were sent to the hospital.
Harkings is the biological mother of all four of the children while Fabilia is the father to only one of them, the Wise County Messenger reported.
The couple was staying at Fabilia’s father’s house, which is a barn-like structure with no running water or bathroom facilities.
The children were released from hospital and placed into foster care Tuesday evening.