Andrew Fabila and Paige Harkings, both 24, were arrested on Tuesday in Wise County, Texas when police made the gruesome discovery while responding to a domestic disturbance at their home.
Inside the barn, deputies found two children locked in a dog kennel who showed signs of malnutrition and two others who also appeared to be malnourished and were only partially clothed and smeared with feces and urine.
There was food inside the makeshift home but the refrigerator and cabinets had been locked.
A Texas couple have been arrested after four malnourished children were found in deplorable conditions at their rural home. They were soon released into the custody of Child Protective Services.
Andrew Joseph Fabila and Paige Isabow Harkings, both 24, were charged with four counts of criminal child endangerment, Wise County jail records showed.
Akin says two of the children were inside, but that the deputies found two more in an outbuilding, crammed into the 3-by-3 feet (90-by-90 centimeter) cage. "It's a metal shop top building with some living quarters fashioned in one end of it ... this is at the top of the list of worst cases as far as children and how they're kept". They were hungry and thirsty, and covered in feces, Akin said.
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Harkings is the biological mother of all four of the children while Fabilia is the father to only one of them, the Wise County Messenger reported.
He says the children's parents were home and that they had been fighting.
The man was also taken to the hospital for treatment for the wounds he had sustained to his face.
According to Sheriff Lane Akin, the man's face was covered in scratches when authorities arrived on the scene. They did not have an attorney Tuesday, but a public defender is expected to be assigned to their case Wednesday, Akins said.
Officials said Cheatham and Head were charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child creating substantial risk as well as three counts of kidnapping, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.