Four malnourished children – ages five and younger – were found by authorities on a Texas property Tuesday, including two who were locked in a kennel. Authorities arrested their mother and a man identified as the father of one of the children.

The incident came to light after deputies arrived at a home on a domestic disturbance call near Rhome, a city located 50 miles from Dallas, Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said, according to the Associated Press. Akin said a 4-year-old girl and three boys, aged 5, 3 and 1, were found inside the barn while two of them were locked in the kennel measuring 3 feet in length, height and width. The other two children were found mostly unclothed on the floor of the barn, covered in urine and feces.

Akin said inside the barn, the space was "crudely fashioned" into rooms to create some sort of living quarters, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"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, adding that this was the worst child-abuse case he had 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.

crime tape
Authorities found four malnourished children on a Texas property, including two who were locked in a kennel. This is a representational image showing a crime scene tape in Schertz, Texas, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Flores

The children, who were underfed, were given food and water before being taken to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, 24 miles south of Rhome. The children reportedly did not have any obvious injuries. They were released from the hospital Tuesday evening and placed in foster care, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said.

The two people arrested in the case were identified as Paige Harkings and Andrew Fabila, both 24. Each faces four counts of endangering a child. Harkings also was charged with aggravated assault.

While there were many incidents in the U.S. of similar torture houses where children were abused, the Turpin case in 2018 shocked the country. The existence of a "House of Horrors" in Perris, California, was known after one of the children captivated in the home escaped and contacted police. When authorities arrived at the home, they found some of the children in a dark, foul-smelling room. David and Louise Turpin allegedly imprisoned their 13 children for years or even decades. The Turpins allegedly shackled, beat and strangled their children, allowing them to eat just once per day and shower just once per year.

Authorities arrested the suspects who pleaded not guilty to torture and other crimes. They were both held on a $12 million bail.