Couple accused of locking feces-covered children in dog kennel arraigned

Two young children were found in a locked dog kennel Tuesday morning in a Wise County home, the sheriff said.
Two young children were found in a locked dog kennel Tuesday morning in a Wise County home, the sheriff said.

Two parents charged with child endangerment after two of their four children were found starving and locked in dog cages will be arraigned in court Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Wise County Sheriff’s Office was sent to the home of Paige Harkings and Andrew Fabila, both 24, on a call about a domestic disturbance.

Harkings is charged with assaulting Fabila, who is shown in a mugshot with cuts all over his face and neck. Both are charged with four counts of child endangerment. Bond was set at $60,000 for Fabila and $75,000 for Harkings.

When deputies arrived, they found two children inside a small dog kennel. Two other children, who were also malnourished, were found in the house. One was on a blanket and the other was on a toddler bed.

“All of them were filthy, covered in fecal material and appeared to be in a state of neglect,” Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said.

The children — ages 1, 3, 4 and 5 — were taken to a hospital and then placed into foster care.

The couple has had contact with the Department of Children Services before Tuesday’s investigation, according to DFPS spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales. The previous contact was not at the address where children were found yesterday and Gonzales confirmed that the children have not been placed in foster care before.

A records search for Harkings shows she has lived in the 600 block of Randall Street in Rhome, the 100 block of Tower Road in Aurora, and the 700 block of Terrace Drive in DeSoto. She is the mother of all four children, Akin said. Fabila is the biological father of one of the children.

It’s not clear where the other contact with DCS occurred or the outcome of that contact.

Akin said his department hasn’t had contact with the couple before and had never been out to that address.

The children found on Tuesday were hungry and thirsty. They also appeared to be small for their ages, he said. There was food inside the makeshift home but the refrigerator and cabinets had been locked.

Akin said the inside of the home “was filthy.”

“It’s pretty well cluttered, it’s unkempt, a lot of stuff in there,” he said. “It’s a metal shop top building with some living quarters fashioned in one end of it … this is at the top of the list of worst cases as far as children and how they’re kept.”

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Nichole Manna is an investigative reporter for the Star-Telegram. Before moving to Fort Worth in July 2018, she covered crime and breaking news in Tennessee, North Carolina, Nebraska and Kansas. She is a 2012 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and grew up in Florida.