DECATUR, Texas – Four malnourished children are in foster care after authorities found two of them locked in a dog cage and two more smeared with excrement in a North Texas barn.
A Texas Department of Family and Protective Services official says the children were released from a hospital Monday night. Law enforcement found the children earlier in the day on the property near Rhome, about 20 miles north of Fort Worth.
Investigators found the children, “two of which were locked in a dog crate, one was laying on a blanket, one was laying on a toddler bed,” said Wise County Chief Deputy Craig Johnson. “All of them were filthy, covered in fecal material and appeared to be a in a state of neglect.”
The chief deputy said deputies found a refrigerator in the makeshift residence with three straps on it, positioned so the children couldn’t access it.
Spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales says the three boys, ages 5, 3 and 1, and a 4-year-old girl, are “doing OK,” but declined to share details.
Paige Isabow Harkings and Andrew Joseph Fabila, who are both 24, have each been charged with four counts of criminal child endangerment.
Harkings, the children’s mother, and was also charged with aggravated assault.