Domestic Violence Call Leads Officers To “Absolutely Disgusting Child Abuse Case”

Children found locked in dog cage, living
in deplorable conditions, Wise County
deputies say

RHOME, TX  –  A father and mother of four children are facing charges after deputies discovered a horrific scene of child abuse and neglect at a home Tuesday morning.

.jpg photo of mother of children found to be abused and neglected.
Paige Isabow Harkings, 24

According to Wise County deputies, they received a call at about 7:20 a.m. on a report of domestic violence at a house off County Road 4930 near Newark, about 30 miles north of Fort Worth.

Andrew Fabila and Paige Harkings face four charges of child endangerment, authorities said.

.jpg photo of father of one of the children found to be abused and neglected.
Andrew Joseph Fabila, 24

When deputies arrived at the home, they found cuts to the Fabila’s face and heard children inside a barn, according to Sheriff Lane Akin, with the Wise County Sheriff’s Department.

Four children were found inside the barn:  a 4-year-old girl and three boys, ages 5, 3 and 1, Akin said.

The oldest two children were locked in a dog kennel measuring about 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet, he said.  The other two were found mostly unclothed on the floor of the barn, covered in urine and feces, Akin said.

Akin said it was the worst child-abuse case he’d seen during his 44 years in law enforcement.

“I’ve not worked one where children are locked inside a dog kennel, and I find that absolutely disgusting,” he said.

Inside the barn, the space was “crudely fashioned” into rooms to create some sort of living quarters, Akin said.

“There was plenty of food inside the barn, but the refrigerator and the cabinets had been locked so the kids could not get in to get food,” the sheriff said.

The children were hungry and thirsty when deputies found them, so authorities gave them food and water before they were taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.  Akin said he saw no obvious injuries to the children before they were hospitalized.

The children were released from the hospital Tuesday evening and will be placed in foster care, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said.

Deputies noticed feces scattered throughout the house.

Fabila was sent to the hospital with cuts.  Harkins also faces a family violence charge.

The couple had been staying with the paternal grandparents’ house.  Texas Child Protective Services confirmed that they had previous contact with the family, but would not elaborate.

Multiple agencies are investigating.

Misusing Painkillers: Dose Of Reality

.jpg photo of TX Ag at press conference
Attorney General Paxton was joined at a press conference by Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt and Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Courtney N. Phillips.

AG Paxton Launches New Dose of Reality
Website to Educate Texans About the
Dangers of Opioid Abuse

AUSTIN, TX  –  In his office’s latest initiative to combat the nation’s opioid crisis, Attorney General Ken Paxton today launched Dose of Reality, a new comprehensive website to inform and educate Texans about the dangers of misusing prescription painkillers.

The new site is available at DoseofReality.Texas.gov

Attorney General Paxton was joined at a press conference by Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt and Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Courtney N. Phillips.

“The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids cost lives and devastate Texas families in every region of our state,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “Opioids such as OxyContin and hydrocodone are prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, but have serious risks and side effects.  When patients are not well informed, these drugs can inflict far more pain than they prevent.  The Dose of Reality website is intended to give Texans the information they need to avoid those unintended consequences.  My office will continue to do everything it can to protect Texans from the opioid crisis.”

Dose of Reality provides individuals, patients, health care providers, teachers, coaches and others with opioid-related resources in one location, allowing for quick and easy access to vital information.

The new website includes details on approaches to preventing opioid abuse and addiction, proper pain management, safe storage of prescription painkillers and guidelines on responding to an opioid overdose.  It also features a statewide take back map of locations that accept prescription opioids for safe disposal.

Opioids are a family of drugs that include prescription painkillers such as OxyContin as well as illegal drugs like heroin.

Each day, 115 Americans die of opioid overdoses.

Nationwide, there were 42,249 opioid overdoses in 2016, including 1,375 opioid-related deaths in Texas.

The death toll attributed to opioids in the U.S. has quadrupled over the last two decades.

In 2017, Attorney General Paxton and a bipartisan group of 40 other state attorneys general initiated an investigation into whether companies that manufacture and distribute prescription opioids engaged in unlawful practices.  Last May, Attorney General Paxton filed a major consumer protection lawsuit against Purdue Pharma for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act involving the company’s prescription opioids, including OxyContin.

The nationally acclaimed and award-winning Dose of Reality website was conceived by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), in September 2015 provided to Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota and Nebraska at no cost.  Attorney General Paxton’s office partnered with the Wisconsin DOJ, Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of State Health Services on content development for DoseofReality.Texas.gov

To view the press conference, click here:
https://www.facebook.com/TexasAttorneyGeneral/videos/381897475701392/