COMMERCE - Three children were taken into protective custody Sunday after their father was arrested for allegedly giving them alcohol.

According to Assistant Commerce Police Chief Matt Crockett, officers were called to 109 North River St. in reference to a man believed to be giving his children beer in order to make them sleep.

Officer Dough Grammer said that he spoke with a Shawn Curtis Patrick, the 24-year-old father of the children.

“I observed him to be unsteady on his feet and had an odor associated with an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath,” Grammer said.

Grammer then spoke with the owner of the home who authorized the officer to enter the home to check on the welfare of the family.

“I observed a purple sippie cup sitting on the end table in the living room,” Grammer said. “When I picked up the cup there was a yellow liquid in the cup that had an odor associated with beer.”

Patrick then became uncooperative and began yelling at authorities, according to Grammer. He was placed under arrest for public intoxication.

A teenage female at the home told authorities that there had been beer in the baby bottle belonging to a 21-month-old child. She told Grammer that she rinsed the bottle out and put tea in it.

Grammer said he could smell what he believed to be alcohol on the childrens' breath.

The children's mother, Brenda Patrick, 24, told authorities that her husband had given the children beer and she tried to make him stop.

Brenda Patrick was not at home when police arrested her husband. She was in Arkansas with the couple's 2-week-old child.

The three children, ages 21 months, 2 1/2 years and 4 years old, were all taken into custody by the Department of Human Services.

While in custody, DHS workers observed the children to be “very dirty,” noting all three had head lice, their diapers were “extremely soiled” and they were hungry.

Two of the small children had several bug bites on them and what appeared to be cigarette burns on their legs, according to police reports.

Authorities said one of the girls was noted to have vaginal swelling and one had stitches in her index finger that had become infected.

The children were taken to a local hospital where they were examined and tested for alcohol in their blood.

All three children had a reportable amount of alcohol in their blood. The physician also noted that the girls were under weight.

The children were placed in foster care pending further investigation.

Shawn Patrick is expected to be charged with public intoxication, endangering the welfare of a minor and furnishing alcohol to a person under 21.

According to Crockett, Brenda Patrick is also expected to face charges in connection with the neglect and abuse of her children.