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Kingsport father charged after kids 'found wandering'

By Meaghan Smith, msmith@wcyb.com
Published On: Nov 14 2013 05:12:43 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 14 2013 08:06:34 PM CST

A Kingsport man is charged with child neglect after police say his kids were found wandering their neighborhood while their father was passed out drunk inside their home.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

A Kingsport man is charged with child neglect after police say his kids were found wandering their neighborhood while their father was passed out drunk inside their home.

Officers say a neighbor found the little boys -- ages five, three and one -- in the Vance Street neighborhood, alone and hungry, after they knocked on his door. 

Police tell us the neighbor even had to keep one of the kids, the one-year old, from being hit by a car. 

Officers report that the neighbor recognized the children and tried to take them home, but no one answered the door. 

When police arrived at Cole's home, they say it took them several minutes to wake him up, and when they finally did he allegedly smelled of alcohol, had red eyes and was having trouble standing.

"The children were complaining about being hungry. One of them didn't have a shirt on and was outside on a cool fall day, so he obviously wasn't taking care of the children," says Tom Patton with the Kingsport Police Department.

The boys' mother arrived home as officers were there.

Police charged Vincent Cole with three counts of felony child neglect.

Officers left the children in their mother's custody, but say they alerted the Department of Children's Services, who are now investigating too.