Two young children — one as young as 4 years old — were found locked and malnourished inside a dog kennel Tuesday morning at a home in Wise County, the sheriff said.
Two other young kids were found malnourished in the home near County Road 4390, about 13 miles south of Decatur. They were not in kennels, authorities said.
The parents, Andrew Fabila and Paige Harkings, both 24, were arrested and charged with four counts of criminal negligence. Harkings was additionally charged with aggravated assault. In Fabila’s mugshot, multiple cuts can be seen across his face and neck.
“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.
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Deputies with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic disturbance shortly before 7:30 a.m. at the home near Decatur. Decatur is about 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth.
Deputies found that Fabila and Harkings had been in a fight.
“While they were there, deputies heard children in the home,” Akin said. “Deputies went inside of the home and found the two children in a kennel.”
A 5-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl were inside a cage that was about 3 feet by 3 feet, the sheriff said. Two other boys, ages 3 and 1, were discovered in the home.
“The younger children appeared malnourished,” the sheriff said.
Police told the Wise County Messenger that Harkings is the biological mother of all four children. Fabila is the father of one of the children.
They were in the Wise County Jail on Tuesday.
The children were released from the hospital on Tuesday evening and placed into foster care, according to Marissa Gonzales with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
“DFPS investigators will continue working with law enforcement on the case,” she said.