Police officers in Ohio were left heartbroken after they found a seven-year-old boy trying to sell his teddy bear for food.
The boy, who hasn’t been named, was found trying to hawk his toy outside a local CVS drug store earlier this month.
‘It broke my heart,’ Officer Steve Dunham told WLWT 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.’
On August 7, an officer from the Franklin Police Department went above and beyond the call of duty after he found a boy trying to sell his toy, as he eaten in several days.
The officer bought the boy Subway and took him back to the station.
'[We] said a little prayer and ate dinner together,' Dunham said.
Upon further investigation, the officer discovered the boy had four siblings - aged 11, 12, 15 and 17 - all of them living in filth.
'Cockroaches, urine – cat urine, human urine,' told Police Chief Russ Whitman to WLWT.
The Police Chief praised Dunham for his actions, saying, '[Police] treated them like their own kids, and that’s exactly what law enforcement does in situations like this…how would we want someone to treat our kids?'
He added: 'Hopefully, these officers’ actions change these kids’ lives and maybe change the lives of the parents to become better parents.'
Mum Tammi Bethel wrote on Facebook saying the officers ‘popped up on the wrong day.’
She added: ‘I hadn’t had a chance to clean the mess that all them kids made and yes I was arguing with the kids to help clean up the mess.’
‘BTW the kids didn’t eat the food that the cops brought them because they had just ate.’
Bethel also said the police officers promised their story wouldn’t go public.
The parents have been charged with 10 counts of child endangerment, and the five children are now staying with family members.