Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Children found locked inside dog cage, father and mother arrested

Children found malnourished and locked inside dog kennel at Texas home Denise and Louise Turpin were arrested and charged with nearly 50 counts of child abuse torture and false imprisonment
Melinda Barton | 13 February, 2019, 23:07

Four malnourished siblings, all aged 5 or younger, have been placed in foster care after authorities found them hungry and thirsty in a North Texas barn, two locked in a dog cage and the others smeared with excrement, authorities said Wednesday.

Law enforcement found the children Tuesday morning while responding to a domestic disturbance call at a property near Rhome, about 20 miles (32 kilometres) north of Fort Worth.

The chief deputy said deputies found a refrigerator in the makeshift residence with three straps on it, positioned so the children couldn't access it.

The children, between 1 and 5 years old, were also taken to a hospital.

Deputies responded to a domestic violence call about a fight between Fabila and Harkings that lasted up to five hours and were speaking with them when they heard children's voices coming from the barn, the station said.

Akin told reporters both the man and woman have each been charged with four counts of endangering a child. The two oldest children were locked inside of a dog cage. Harkings was also charged with assault.

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.

Neighbors told CBS 11 the couple may have been on the property for three or four weeks, but they had never seen any signs of children living there.

"The four children have been taken to Cook's (Children's Medical Center) in Fort Worth to be examined", Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said Tuesday in a telephone interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She declined to share details of their condition and treatment.

"The others appeared malnourished, covered in urine and faeces", Sheriff Akin said.

Andrew Joseph Fabila is the father to one of the children, Harkings is the mother to all four of the children.

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.