Put yourself for a moment in the shoes of Officer Steve Dunham, of the Franklin, Ohio police department. It is Sunday, and you receive a call that a young child is wandering around alone in the city’s downtown area.
You investigate and find a small boy, standing outside a drug store trying to sell one of his toys for money for food.
Better still, put yourself in the boy’s shoes. According to NBC affiliate WLWT, the child told Dunham he had not eaten in several days. “It broke my heart,” Dunham is quoted as saying. Whose wouldn’t it break?
The officer took the boy a nearby Subway to get something to eat. “[We] said a little prayer and ate dinner together,” Dunham said. Then he took the child back to the police station.
After further investigation, police said the child and his four brothers lived in squalor. Investigators described the home on Main Street as full of garbage, cat urine and liquor bottles.
Investigators charged the parents, Tammy and Michael Bethel, with 10 counts of child endangering.
The 7-year-old boy and his siblings, whose ages range from 11 to 17, have been removed from the home and are now staying with family members. The parents have been ordered to have no contact with them.
Unsurprisingly Officer Dunham told reporters he was just doing his job. That’s the sort of thing heroes always say.
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