DECATUR, Texas (AP) — A North Texas judge says four young siblings will remain in foster care after two were discovered locked in a dog cage and the others were found smeared with excrement in a barn.
The judge ruled Wednesday that no suitable relatives could be found to care for the children, who range in age from 1 to 5 years old.
Investigators say all four children were hungry and thirsty when found in the barn on Feb. 12 at a property near Rhome, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Fort Worth.
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin says it's the worst case of child abuse he's seen in his 44-year career.
The children's mother, 24-year-old Paige Harkings, is jailed on child endangerment charges. Jail records don't indicate whether she has an attorney. A man arrested in the case was released on bond.