Last Saturday (August 6) police received reports of a little boy wandering the streets of Franklin, Ohio by himself.
As reported, the 7-year-old was found trying to sell his teddy bear on the street in hopes of being able to eat for the first time in days.
A police officer responding to the situation said that he was “heartbroken,” taking the little boy to Subway to eat something before returning to the police station.
Upon investigation, officers discovered that the boy's home was ridden with garbage, cat urine and liquor bottles. The child’s parents, Tammi and Michael Bathel, told police they didn’t realize their son was missing, and each were charged with five counts of child endangerment.
The mother of five responded to criticisms on the station’s Facebook page about the state of her home, saying she could “post pictures that [she] randomly took from January to August” that show her house is clean. She then went on to say the police “just popped up on the wrong day,” and that her kids didn’t eat the food brought to them by police because “they had just ate.”
The responding officer Steve Dunham recounted a different story, with the initial report finding the home to be in squalid conditions with signs of negligence.
“It broke my heart,” Dunham told reporters. “He told me he was trying to sell his stuffed animal to get money for food because he hadn't eaten in several days.”
While the investigation continues, the five Bathel children are currently under the care of their relatives, as ordered by Warren Country Children Services.
The parents are scheduled to appear at a pre-trial hearing on September 16.
“Hopefully, these officers’ actions change these kids’ lives and maybe change the lives of the parents to become better parents,” Franklin police chief Russ Whitman said in a statement.
(Photo: Tammi Bethel via Facebook)