A Central Texas mother was taken into custody after allowing her young children to be tattooed. Police say the mom was intoxicated at the time and let her boyfriend's brother do the work. Now the three children each have tattoos on their ankles.
The father is the one who called police. We're told the kids went to his ex-wife's home after school. When he went to pick them up, he was in shock with what he saw.
Three kids, all under 13 years old, now have tattoos permanently imprinted on their ankles. Tattoo artist Kate Hellenbrand has been in the business for more than 40 years. She says there's a reason the law prohibits children from getting the art work done.
"Well it's unethical, it's immoral. It's everything I can think of that is a travesty against empathy, against caring for a human, a child. I mean yea, it's everything that's important to me as an artist in this field," says Kate Hellenbrand, owner, Shanghai Kate's Tattoos.
Lago Vista Police say it was on Monday when the incident was reported. Court documents show that the three children arrived at their mother's home after school.
They called their father to pick them up and when he did, he saw that each had fresh tattoos on their ankles. One tattoo was of a cross, another of an infinity symbol with a cross and also a heart with an arrow.
The children reported to police that their mother, 31-year-old Ashley Weir, told them to get the tattoos but not to cry or whine about it when it hurts.
The brother of the mother's boyfriend is the one who reportedly did the artwork. We also learned he is a registered sex offender.
Tattooing was once very honorable, very sacred and now it's available online. You can by the equipment at Sears, you can by it at Walmart and videos are online that can give you some kind of an idea of what to do. It takes a good ten years of training to know how to tattoo," says Hellenbrand.
The father then requested a welfare check on his ex-wife. Police say 31-year-old Ashley Weir was intoxicated at the time. She said she consented to the tattoos. It's something that we're told could be very dangerous.
"There's no cleanliness. He probably had one needle. He didn't certainly go through hospital style sterilization and single service, which is what we do and any tattoo artist does. You know, that's the first thing you learn," says Hellenbrand.
Weir was arrested for "tattoos prohibited for certain persons," which is a Class A misdemeanor. The children are left with a permanent mark. Michelle Eades says she sees the long-term effects and it's why many come to her for tattoo removal.
"When students go into a classroom and their teacher sees them with a tattoo, they already think that automatically this person is a trouble-maker," Michelle Eades, Mad Dog Tattoo Removal.
The mother has a prior criminal history. Jail records show she was arrested three times for driving while intoxicated and twice for public intoxication.
She was also charged with resisting arrest and driving with license invalid. The father is now fighting for custody.