Tuesday, 16 August 2016
Parents charged after boy, 7, found trying to sell his teddy bear for food
Two parents from Ohio in the US have been charged with 10 counts of child endangerment, after their seven-year-old boy was found trying to sell his teddy bear for food on Sunday.
Franklin police discovered the starving little boy in a busy area outside a pharmacy, trying to get money so he could buy something to eat.
"It broke my heart," Officer Steve Dunham told 5 News. "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 took the little boy across to the local Subway restaurant, buying him a meal before taking the seven-year-old back to the police station.
"We said a little prayer and ate dinner together," Dunham said.
According to a police report, when officers visited the Bethel family home, they found it full of garbage, cat urine and alcohol bottles. The report noted that the parents had created "a substantial risk of health and safety by neglecting the cleanliness in the residence, having a large amount of bugs and spoiled food throughout the residence, and allowing a seven-year-old child to wander from the residence without their permission or knowledge, in an attempt to locate food."
Tammi and Michael Bethel, the little boy's parents, told Franklin police they didn't realise their son wasn't at home. On a post to the Franklin Police Facebook page, Tammi, denied the severity of the allegations claiming, "the cop just popped in on the wrong day."
Her seven-year-old son and his four brothers, aged 11,12,15 and 17, have all been removed from the home and are being cared for by relatives, reports Journal News in Hamilton.
"(Police) treated them like their own kids, and that's exactly what law enforcement does in situations like this," Police chief Russ Whitman said. "How would we want someone to treat our kids?"
Tammi and Michael Bethel will face pre-trail hearings on September 16. They have been ordered not to have any contact with their children.