New Details Released in Wise County Child Abuse Case

The Wise County Sheriff's Department released arrest affidavits for the parents charged in connection with a horrific child abuse case.

Paige Harkings and Andrew Fabila, both 24, each face four counts of child endangerment. Harkings also faces an additional charge of aggravated assault.

NBC 5 News
Paige Harkings, mugshot
NBC 5 News
Andrew Joseph Fabila, mugshot.

Bond has been set at $15,000 each for each charge; Fabila is being held on $60,000 bond and Harkings is being held on $75,000 bond.

The affidavits detail the exact moments when deputies, as well as Texas State Troopers, pulled up to the metal shop in rural Wise County and saw Harkings and Fabila standing outside the shop smoking. When approached, both parents tried to run back inside the building.

Officers separated the pair. When Fabila was ask if anyone else was inside the building he said "Yes, all four of my kids are inside," according to the documents.

The affidavit then details how a State Trooper and a Wise County Sheriff's Deputy entered the shop, where they found one child wrapped in a blanket, lying on a heating pad. Two other children were locked inside a canine kennel and were covered in their own feces. A fourth child was lying in a Pack-N-Play wrapped in multiple blankets. 

The document goes on to detail a space heater that the officers observed right next to the kennel where the children were lying.

Investigators also said the shop had electricity, but no plumbing and the children were using a non-connected toilet, which had trash bags around it, used to urinate and defecate inside.

The affidavit also details how the children's clothing and bedding were dirty and and the children who were in diapers had dirty diapers that appeared to have not been changed in a lengthy amount of time.

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Investigators earlier said the children, ages 5, 4, 3 and 1, all share the same mother and that Fabila is the father to only one of them.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said the discovery might not have even occurred, without the persistence of law enforcement officers who investigated the initial domestic disturbance report. The sheriff said they asked permission to enter the home after hearing children’s voices, but the pair refused.  Deputies suspected the two were intoxicated so, citing exceptional circumstances, they went inside, where they found the children covered in feces, two of them locked in dog cages.

"Because of those steps, those children, for possibly the first time in their lives, those children slept in a safe, clean environment where they were well-fed and free from harm," said Akin.

Akin on Tuesday said when deputies found them, all of the children were hungry and thirsty and that "there was plenty of food inside the shop but the refrigerator and the cabinets had been locked so the kids could not get in to get food."

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.
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.

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 and then joined 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 lacerations on Fabila's face.

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.
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.

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.

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