'Malnourished' Children Found Locked in Dog Kennel on Wise County Property, Parents Charged - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

'Malnourished' Children Found Locked in Dog Kennel on Wise County Property, Parents Charged

Mother of four children charged with child endangerment, aggravated assault; father to one faces endangerment charges

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Parents to be Arraigned Wednesday in Child Abuse Case

    The parents charged in connection with a horrific child abuse case in Wise County are set to be arraigned Wednesday morning. (Published Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019)

    What to Know

    • Four children found inside makeshift home, covered in feces and apparently malnourished. Two of the kids were locked in a wired dog cage.

    • Police found the children after being called to the residence following a fight or domestic disturbance.

    • Mother to the four children and father of one both facing four charges of child endangerment.

    North Texas deputies discovered four young children in a "state of neglect," apparently malnourished and covered in feces and urine, living in an outbuilding in rural Wise County Tuesday. Two of the children, deputies say, were being held inside a small locked dog kennel. Their mother and the father to one of the four children, now face child endangerment charges.

    Wise County Sheriff's deputies were called to a domestic incident at a residence described by sheriff's deputies as a barn house, or a metal, shop-type outbuilding near County Road 4930 at about 7:15 a.m.

    Andrew Joseph Fabila, mugshot.
    Photo credit: NBC 5 News
    Paige Harkings, mugshot
    Photo credit: NBC 5 News

    Deputies arrived to find a man, identified by police as 24-year-old Andrew Joseph Fabila, with a number of scratches on his face. While talking with Fabilia and his partner, 24-year-old Paige Harkings, deputies reported hearing the voices of children coming from a makeshift living space inside the outbuilding.

    Craig Johnson, Chief Deputy of the Wise County Sheriff's Office, said deputies went to check on the children and found four kids, ages 5, 4, 3 and 1, living in what deputies described as "filthy" and "cluttered" living conditions.

    ( Tue Feb 12 20:35:20 PST 2019 $__output ) 'Malnourished' Kids Locked in Dog Kennel, Parents Charged'Malnourished' Kids Locked in Dog Kennel, Parents Charged

    North Texas deputies discovered four young children in a "state of neglect," in rural Wise County Tuesday; two of the children were being held inside a small locked dog kennel.

    (Published Tuesday, ' 12, 2019)

    ( Tue Feb 12 20:31:23 PST 2019 $__output ) Caged Children 'Are Going to be Impacted by This as Long as They Live'Caged Children 'Are Going to be Impacted by This as Long as They Live'

    Four young children in Wise County who were found malnourished, filthy and living in a "state of neglect," were expected to be transferred from a Fort Worth hospital to foster care Tuesday night. Still, child abuse experts say likely they face several years of treatment and therapy to overcome the apparent abuse.

    (Published Tuesday, ' 12, 2019)

    Investigators said the children all share the same mother and that Fabila is the father to only one of them.

    The older two children were found locked in a single, wired, 3-by-3 foot dog kennel, one on a blanket and another on a small toddler bed; the other two children were only partially clothed and all of them were described by deputies as unkempt and in a "state of neglect."

    This is at the top of the list of worst cases, as far as children.Craig Johnson, Chief Deputy, Wise County Sheriff's Department

    "Locking a child, any time, in a dog crate is unacceptable. When you find them in the state they were found today, covered in fecal material, no food readily available to them, didn't appear to have been cared for. It's unacceptable. It's bad," Johnson said.

    ( Tue Feb 12 12:04:07 PST 2019 $__output ) 'This is at the Top of the List of Worst Cases,' Deputy Says'This is at the Top of the List of Worst Cases,' Deputy Says

    Craig Johnson, Chief Deputy with the Wise County Sheriff's Department talks about four young children found malnourished in a home near Rhome, Feb. 12, 2019.

    (Published Tuesday, ' 12, 2019)

    Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said when deputies found them, all of the children were hungry and thirsty and that "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."

    "There was a refrigerator in the residence, but it had three straps on it that served as locking devices to keep people out. In dealing with children ... they were positioned in a manner where those small children would not have access," Johnson said.

    I've not worked one where children are locked inside a dog kennel, and I find that absolutely disgusting.Lane Akin, Wise County Sheriff

    Deputies gave food and water to all of the children, all of whom were believed to be small for their ages and malnourished. They were then taken to Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth for examinations.

    Fabila was treated at the Wise Regional Hospital in Decatur for facial lacerations before joining Harkings at the Wise County Jail where they were each booked on four counts of child endangerment. Harkings was also charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury for the cuts on Fabila's face. The couple was arraigned Wednesday morning and ordered held on $15,000 bond each for each charge.

    Neighbors told NBC 5 that they didn't know any children were living in the space and that the man and woman had only begun using the space a couple of weeks ago.

    Deepak Andhikari works at a convenience store in nearby Newark. He said Fabila bought gas from him at about 9 p.m. Monday.

    "He had all the wounds in his face. That's why I recognize his face," Andhikari said.

    Child Protective Services confirmed to NBC 5 they have had previous contact with the parents at a different address and that they're investigating this latest incident. CPS said Tuesday afternoon that the children were being released from the hospital and will be placed into foster care.

    Johnson said he had no immediate knowledge of his department having previous contact with the family.

    ( Tue Feb 12 16:27:50 PST 2019 $__output ) Family, Neighbors React to Neglected Wise County ChildrenFamily, Neighbors React to Neglected Wise County Children

    Some neighbors who live near the metal shop where four children were discovered locked up Tuesday said they had no idea the building even served as someone's home.

    (Published Tuesday, ' 12, 2019)

    ( Tue Feb 12 09:52:02 PST 2019 $__output ) Children Reportedly Found in Dog Kennel in Wise CountyChildren Reportedly Found in Dog Kennel in Wise County

    Two young children were found locked in a dog kennel near Rhome, the Wise County Sheriff's Office said according to the Wise County Messenger.

    (Published Tuesday, ' 12, 2019)

    ( Tue Feb 12 14:49:51 PST 2019 $__output ) 'Malnourished' Kids Locked in Dog Kennel, Parents Charged'Malnourished' Kids Locked in Dog Kennel, Parents Charged

    North Texas deputies discovered four young children in a "state of neglect," in rural Wise County Tuesday; two of the children were being held inside a small locked dog kennel.

    (Published Tuesday, ' 12, 2019)

    NBC 5's Seth Voorhees, Maria Guerrero, Frank Heinz, Meredith Yeomans, Allie Spillyards, Scott Gordon and Eline De Bruijn contributed to this report.

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