Texas couple jailed after children found neglected

Daryl Justen Head and Laura Elizabeth Cheatham

Sheriff's deputies discovered four malnourished children, including two locked inside a dog cage, when they responded to a domestic disturbance at a Northeast Texas home.

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.

Police discovered the children Tuesday in clutter and filth, with two in a crate placed in a barn converted into living space, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said.

There were three boys, ages five, three and one, and a four-year-old girl, he said.

Wise County jail records show Andrew Joseph Fabila and Paige Isabow Harkings, from North Texas, are each charged with four counts of criminal child endangerment.

The two were staying in what Akin described as a barn-like structure with no running water or toilet facilities on property owned by Fabila's father. All four children appeared to be malnourished.

Harkings was also charged with aggravated assault, and Fabila was taken to an area hospital to have "numerous lacerations on his face" treated before being jailed, the sheriff's office said in a statement.

Investigators then searched the property, according to the Wise County Messenger, and found two more children, who were dirty and emaciated.

Johnson said there was a refrigerator in the living space but it had a lock on it. She declined to share details of their condition and treatment.

Akin said the suspects, who have not been identified, are facing four counts each of endangering a child.

A fight between the two is what brought deputies to the rural home, and the man had cuts to his face.

She claimed that she and her 12 siblings were being held against their will by their parents, would often leave them shackled and taunt them with food. They were taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the agency has had contact with the family before, but at a different location.

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