Cop Helps Out Boy, 7, Peddling Teddy Bear for Food

Cop buys him dinner; parents of 5 charged with child endangerment
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2016 6:56 AM CDT
Cop Helps Out Boy, 7, Peddling Teddy Bear for Food
Police say a hungry 7-year-old boy in Ohio tried to hawk his teddy bear for food.    (By Jonik, Self-photographed, via Wikimedia Commons)

A hungry 7-year-old boy trying to hawk his teddy bear to buy food ran into the right cop: Officer Steve Dunham tells WLWT "it broke my heart" to see the child trying to sell his toy last week outside a drugstore in Franklin, Ohio. The boy told Dunham it had been several days since he'd eaten, and so the cop took him out for a bite before heading to the station, the Journal-News reports. The boy's parents later told police they had no idea their son wasn't at home. Police say the boy and his four brothers lived in squalor in a home that reeked of urine and was littered with garbage, liquor bottles, and "a large amount of bugs and spoiled food."

Parents Tammy and Michael Bethel were charged with 10 counts of child endangerment. Besides the 7-year-old, their four other boys, ages 11 to 17, were removed from the house and are now staying with family members. Police Chief Russ Whitman praises Dunham's actions and says it's what police are supposed to do. "How would we want someone to treat our kids?" he tells WLWT. "Hopefully these officers' actions change these kids' lives and maybe change the lives of the parents to become better parents." For his part, Dunham says he was only doing his job: "I would like to go home at the end of the day feeling like I'd done something positive." (Another cop warmed hearts when she was spotted sharing a meal with a homeless guy.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.