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Police Rescue Four Malnourished Children From Texas Home

Wise County Sheriff's Office / Maria Guerrero - Twitter

Warning: some of the details included in this story are disturbing.

A Fort Worth, Texas couple were arrested Tuesday after police responded to a domestic disturbance call.

But what investigators found inside their home was truly alarming: four malnourished and mistreated children, including two police say were locked in a dog crate.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin described finding three boys and a girl aged from 1 to 5 years old, all stashed in a barn converted into a living space. The older children, 4 and 5, were the ones locked inside the dog kennel.

Texas child endangerment
Neighbors say they didn't realize children were living in the converted barn.Maria Guerrero - Twitter

Police say all four children were hungry, thirsty, and covered in feces, but were immediately treated by emergency medical services.

While there was a refrigerator kept in the barn, Wise County Chief Deputy Craig Johnson told NBC News that it was locked, and "filthy" inside.

"When you find them in the state they were found today, covered in fecal material, no food readily available to them, didn't appear to have been cared for, it's unacceptable," he said. "It's bad."

Amber Jester, the couple's neighbor, said she didn't even know there were children on their property.

"You'd think that being right across the street we would know something," she said.

"You'd like to say you would do something. But you don't know. I guess you never know what people are doing inside of their homes."

Police identified Paige Harkings is the biological mother of all four children, while her boyfriend Andrew Fabila is only the biological father of one. Harkings and Fabila were both arrested for endangering a child and aggravated assault.

child endangerment mugshots
An early morning domestic dispute led police to arrest the couple for child endangerment and abuse.Wise County Sheriff's Office

The couple appeared to have been in a fight before police arrived, which prompted the domestic disturbance call.

While the couple awaited their first court appearance Wednesday, their children were evaluated at a hospital in Fort Worth and taken into custody by Child Protective Services.

It revealed just how dire this case was when Johnson told NBC 5 it was "at the top of the list of worst cases, as far as children."

[H/T: CNN, NBC]

Our thoughts and prayers are with the four children rescued from this home.

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