A seven-year-old Ohio boy was found trying to sell his stuffed animal for food over the weekend and one officer is being credited for going beyond the call of duty to help.
An unidentified seven-year-old boy from Franklin, Ohio was seen trying to sell his teddy bear in front of a local CVS drug store, on Aug. 7. And according to the police who found the boy, it was an unfortunate situation to witness.
“It broke my heart,” Officer Steve Dunham told WLWT News, an NBC affiliate. “He told me he was trying to sell his stuffed animal to get money for food because he hadn’t eaten in several days.”
Dunham then brought the boy to Subway to get him a meal, took him back to the Franklin Police Department and ate the food with the boy.
According to Talk Poverty, in 2015 Ohio ranked as the 16th state with the highest percentage – 22.5 per cent – of children under the age of 18 who were living in poverty. New Mexico ranked the highest at just over 29 per cent while Wyoming had the least at 12.1 per cent.
Upon investigation of the child’s home, it was discovered by police the boy had four other brothers, aged 11 to 17, who were all living in squalor.
“Cockroaches, urine – cat urine, human urine,” told Police Chief Russ Whitman to WLWT.
Whitman went on to say the actions of Dunham showed exactly what officers are all about: helping those who need it.
“Hopefully, these officers’ actions change these kids’ lives and maybe change the lives of the parents to become better parents.”
As for Dunham, he too agreed he was just doing his job and that he even went back to visit the seven-year-old.
The five children are now staying with family members and the parents are prohibited from talking to them.
Tammy and Michael Bethel have been charged with 10 counts of child endangerment.