DECATUR, Texas (AP) — A North Texas judge has determined that four children found hungry and thirsty in a barn, with two locked in a dog cage and the others smeared with excrement, will remain in foster care.
The judge found Wednesday that there’s no suitable family member who can take in the children, ages 5 to 1.
The children were discovered Feb. 12 at a property near Rhome, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Fort Worth.
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin described it as the worst case of child abuse he has seen in his 44-year career.
The mother of the children, 24-year-old Paige Harkings, remains in custody on criminal child endangerment charges. The father of one of the children is out on bond.
Jail records don’t indicate whether Harkings has an attorney to speak on her behalf.