Texas Cops Rescue 4 Abused Children: 2 Smeared With Waste; 2 Locked In Dog Cage
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said that this case is the worst instance of child abuse during his 44-year career in law enforcement.
DECATUR, TX — Texas police discovered two children locked in a dog cage and two others in a barn in what a local sheriff described as the worst case of child abuse he has ever seen.
Deputies were responding to a domestic incident in Rhome when they heard children’s voices coming from the barn, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said.
The children’s mother and the father of one of the children, were fighting and the man had sustained cuts on his face.
Akin said that when deputies searched the barn, they found an area that had been "crudely fashioned" into a living space. Three boys — aged five, three, and one — and a four-year-old girl were found.
The oldest boy and the girl were found locked in a three-foot-by-three-foot cage, and the other two children were covered in urine and feces and only partially clothed, Akin said. According to police, the children were visibly malnourished.
"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," Akin said, according to News4SanAntonio.
Andrew Joseph Fabila and Paige Isabow Harkings, both 24, were each charged with four counts of criminal child endangerment, according to Wise County jail records. Harkings also faces an additional charge of aggravated assault.
Akin told The Dallas Morning News that this case is the worst instance of child abuse during his 44-year career in law enforcement.
The children were reportedly taken to a local hospital for evaluation. So far, police have not commented on their condition.
A spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said that the family is known to the agency.