Police officers in Franklin, Ohio got the shock of their careers when they discovered a home that was filthy and reeked of child neglect. According to the Journal-News, the ordeal began when Officer Steve Dunham was alerted to a child wandering in the streets. When he arrived, he came across a sight that left him “heartbroken.” Officer Dunham found a 7-year-old boy in the street that was attempting to sell his teddy bear in order to get enough money to buy food for himself for the first time in a couple of days.
“It broke my heart. He told me he was trying to sell his stuffed animal to get money for food because he hadn’t eaten in several days.”
Officer Dunham took the Ohio boy to a nearby Subway in order to get him some food. It was not until officers arrived at the 7-year-old boy’s home that they realized that it may not have been a fluke that the child was trying to sell his toy in order to eat.
Tammi and Michael Bethel, the parents of the 7-year-old boy, along with four other children, were surprised when police showed up at their Ohio home. At the time, the Bethel’s were not even aware that one of their children was with a police officer at Subway. The living conditions at the Ohio home were disgusting, according to police. The home is said to have been full of garbage and was encompassed with a strong odor of cat urine.
The Bethel’s five children, ages 17, 15, 12, 11, and 7, were taken out of the home by Warren County Children Services and placed in the care of a relative. A local judge has deemed that Tammi and Michael are to have no contact with their children. The Bethel family is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on September 16.
Tammi Bethel claims that the living conditions that her children were living in were not abnormal or wrong. Feeling insulted by the insinuation that she is a bad mother, Tammi took to Facebook where she pled her case for what the police officers discovered at her Ohio home.
“I can also post pictures that I randomly took from January to August and it shows my house clean. The cop just popped up on the wrong day I hadn’t had a chance to clean the mess that all them kids had made. BTW my kids didn’t even eat the food that the cops brought them because they had just ate. Another BTW I could throw a rock from my house and hit CVS where my son was at. He goes down there all the time with his brothers. They are not babies. The cops had to force them to take [the food] saying don’t waste it. And my son has always had fresh kicks! As a matter of fact I bought all of them Steph Currys at the beginning of summer. Wth is wrong with being barefoot in the summer time? I know tons of ppl that go barefoot and it hasn’t killed them yet.”
As part of the police investigation, pictures of the home were taken. The photographs show dirty dishes on top of appliances in the kitchen that had old food inside of them. Garbage can also be seen scattered across the kitchen. A photograph of the refrigerator shows the appliance to be nearly void of any food and an unknown liquid pooling inside of it.
Franklin police chief, Russ Whitman, commented on the child neglect case.
“Hopefully, these officers’ actions change these kids’ lives and maybe change the lives of the parents to become better parents.”
Tammi Bethel intends to sue the police department.
Do you think the Bethel children are victims of child abuse?
[Image Via Shutterstock/Pikul Noorod]