When officer Steve Dunham responded to a 911 call regarding a kid roaming the streets, he couldn’t guess what the child was up to.
The cop from Franklin, Ohio, reached the site in August of 2016 and was astonished to see a child, just 7 years of age, trying to sell his teddy bear to buy some food.
Dunham soon came to know an even harsher truth – the boy was starving for days.
The police were aware that this was just the tip of the iceberg. While other units headed to the child’s home to carry out investigation, Dunham went to the nearest Subway and got the child something to eat.
When the police reached the child’s home, they discovered that there were four other children living in utterly miserable conditions.
The residence was looking more like a trash disposal site with roaches roaming around piles of garbage and cats using the whole place as their urination site.
The police soon learned that the 7-year-old was trying to get enough money to buy food for himself as well as his starving siblings.
The parents of the kids, Michael and Tammi Bethel, were taken into custody and charged with five counts of child neglect.
The kids were removed from the premises and were left with other relatives.
Mrs. Bethel tried to argue that the cops came on the wrong day and that she was about to clean the house.
Both the parents were found guilty for two counts of child endangerment and were sentenced to serve 180 days for each offense. Later, Mr. Bethel’s sentence was reduced to one count and his other sentence was changed to a 3-year probation period.
Both the husband and wife tried to establish that they were suffering from health conditions which caused hindrance in taking proper care of their children.
Mrs. Bethel begged the judge to reunite her with her children after she completed her sentence.
She said: “I love my kids and I will do anything that I have to do, if that means sitting in jail for a year or six months or however long, I will do it to make sure I get my kids back.”
The judge hearing the case, Rupert Ruppert, replied her, saying: “You claim that you love your children. I don’t doubt that you love them but you have a very strange way of showing it in the way you are providing care for them.”
After the court proceedings, Mrs. Bethel was not feeling well and had to be shifted to the hospital by paramedical staff.
Judge Ruppert also scolded Mr. Bethel in very harsh words. The judge pointed out that the children had been taken away from the parents for seven times in the last decade.
He said: “I would also say that if this were your first time these children had been taken out of your home, I would probably be a little more understanding, but it’s not the first time the children were removed, not the second, not the third, not the fourth, it’s not even the fifth or sixth time your children have been removed from your care or your wife’s care. It’s the seventh over all time in the last 10 years.”
It was 2016 when the Bethels were sent to serve time. Now, they are out of jail but it can’t be said with surety whether or not they have the custody of their kids.
Mrs. Bethel also shared a number of photos with her kids on Facebook after she was released in 2017.
Recommended Video For You!
“Police rescues baby from plastic bag in Georgia”