A Waco mother of three was arrested late Wednesday night after police found the family's home filled with animal feces and broken dishes, all easily accessible to the three children, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

Police were called to the Towne Oaks apartments, 4801 Sanger Ave., shortly after 10 p.m., to check the living conditions inside the apartment of Pauline Jo Essix, 22. Swanton said police were called to her home for a welfare check of Essix's three children, all between the ages of 1 and 4.

Essix greeted officers at the door and asked the officers to wait while she corralled dogs inside the home, Swanton said. He said officers then entered the home and immediately noticed the smell of animal feces.

"They saw animal feces everywhere, dishes piled up, broken dishes, food on the counters and old, crusted food that had not been washed up scattered all over the countertops," Swanton said. "Cat litter was spilled across the floor and the three children, all between the ages of 1 and 4, appeared to be sleeping on what looked like a futon bed."

The futon, inside the living room of the apartment, was surrounded by animal feces laying on the floor, Swanton said. The excrement was within easy reach of the three children.

"It was deplorable conditions pretty much," Swanton said.

Essix was arrested on three state jail felony charges of endangering the welfare of the children. Swanton said the children each had different fathers, but police were only able to contact one father of one of the children before Child Protective Services took temporary custody of the other two children.

Officers took Essix to McLennan County Jail. She remained in custody Thursday afternoon with a bond listed at $9,000.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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