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Wise County children found locked in kennel

Law enforcement officials rescued four malnourished young children from a home in Wise County on Tuesday morning. Two of the children had been locked up in a kennel.

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called to the home at Country Road 4655 in Rhome due to a call about a domestic disturbance.

The parents arrested and charged with child abuse are Paige Harkings, 24, and Andrew Joseph Fabila, 24.

Fabila has multiple cuts on her face. Harkings is charged with aggravated assault for those injuries.

As deputies spoke to the couple about the assault, they discovered several children – aged 5, 4, 3 and 1. The sheriff’s office said the two older ones were locked in a kennel and the younger ones were covered in filth and appeared malnourished.

“The two older kids were locked in a kennel. It was just a wire kennel that was about 3 by 3 by 3,” Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said. “There was one girl: the 4-year-old girl. The others were all boys. The younger ones appeared to be malnourished and were undressed. There was only one kennel. The two children were in a kennel. It was inside a room. There were dirty clothes, mattresses, air mattresses, blankets, dirt, food, feces, urine and cats. It was absolutely filthy inside. interior. Disappointing. An unnerving sight to behold.”

Deputies found food in the house, but it was locked out of reach of children.

“There was enough food inside the house. But the food was locked away so the kids couldn’t get to it,” Akin said. “The children were hungry. They were thirsty. Our deputy and our lieutenant fed and gave water to these children.

The children were taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth for evaluation and have since been placed in foster care.

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

The neighbors just hope that the children will finally get the care they need.

“I hope they get love and everything a child should get: nutrition and someone to look after them,” neighbor Amber Jester said. “And, obviously, it’s not in the house where they were.”

Psychologist Susan Fletcher said these children are likely developmentally delayed and likely to have a lot of impairments. She weighed in on the case in Wise County, despite not being a partner.

“The concern is whether or not they will be able to bond with people and relationships in a healthy way,” she said. “A 5-year-old is expected to have language already, so they’re going to store memories. And that’s the concern is that some of that might stick with them for the rest of their lives. their life. A younger child may have bodily memories. They may not be able to put a language to what happened, but they will have things that their body will react to.

Fletcher said abusers are generally isolated, unsophisticated and do it for control. She said abusers often have no remorse for hurting children.

“The fact that they are safe is huge because this can all stop now,” she said. “People can take care of themselves.”

Fletcher said the good news is that kids can overcome this, but it will take a lot of therapy and intervention.

The sheriff said there was evidence of drug abuse inside the house. However, investigators have much more to gather, including from conversations with children, relatives and Fabila and Harkings, who remain behind bars.

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