Officer helps boy, 7, found wandering street trying to sell teddy bear for food

FRANKLIN, Ohio -- A police officer helped a young boy after learning the 7 year old was alone trying to sell his teddy bear to get money for food.

Police received a call that the boy was peddling in front of a drug store in a busy part of town.

“It broke my heart,” Officer Steve Dunham told WLWT. “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 child to Subway for a meal before taking him back to the Franklin Police Department.

“(We) said a little prayer and ate dinner together,” Dunham said.

Police went to the child's home and found that the 7 year old and his four brothers lived in squalor, according to WLWT. Investigators found the home covered in garbage, urine and liquor bottles.

The parents, Tammy and Michael Bethel, have been charged with 10 counts of child endangerment.

Police said the boy and his brothers -- ages 11, 12, 15 and 17 -- are now staying with family members.

“(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?” police chief Russ Whitman told the station. “Hopefully, these officers’ actions change these kids’ lives and maybe change the lives of the parents to become better parents.”