youtube.com/Tammi Bethel | youtube.com/WLWT
youtube.com/Tammi Bethel | youtube.com/WLWT

Officer Responds to a Call about a Hungry Boy Trying to Sell His Teddy Bear for Food

Stephen Thompson
Feb 16, 2022
07:40 A.M.

The Franklin Ohio Police Department showed heroism after they saved a seven-year-old boy and his four brothers from terrible living conditions.


When a seven-year-old boy was found alone on the street trying to sell his stuffed animal for food in August 2016, officers from the Franklin Police Department in Ohio went above and beyond to help him.

Detective Steve Dunham explained that his team responded to a call about an unsupervised little boy walking around in a high traffic area. According to the police officer, the boy was standing outside a drug store trying to trade his toy for some food.

Detective Steve Dunham by his official vehicle [Left]. Seven-year-old boy who sold his toys for food [Right]. | Source: youtube.com/Tammi Bethel youtube.com/WLWT

Detective Steve Dunham by his official vehicle [Left]. Seven-year-old boy who sold his toys for food [Right]. | Source: youtube.com/Tammi Bethel youtube.com/WLWT


Dunham questioned the seven-year-old, and in his reply, the boy explained that he was hungry and had not eaten in several days. So, the police officer took the boy to a subway restaurant and bought him food, after which they returned to the police department.


While Dunham did some work in the station, others checked out where the boy lived. It was reported that the seven-year-old's abode was in a deplorable condition; the house had bugs, the stench of cat urine, and alcohol bottles.

In addition, they found four other boys aged 11, 12, 15, and 17. Without hesitation, the parents, Tammy and Michael, were charged with ten counts of child endangerment, and family members were given temporary custody of the five boys.

Speaking about the incident, Police Chief Russ Whitman confessed that the police treated the five brothers like their kids, which was the duty of law enforcement. However, he hoped that their actions would change the boys' lives and that of their parents.



Dunham's kind act went viral shortly after, and many netizens applauded him. One Facebook user showed gratitude to the officer for positively impacting the little boy's life and future. Also, the entire Franklin Police Department received a ton of "thank you" messages.

To help the children live better, the Saint Vincent De Paul Society at a local Catholic Church launched a donation drive. The Franklin Ohio Police Department shared the news on their Facebook page, noting that monetary donations were welcomed.



While the society received donations from far and near, the boys' mother, Tammy, claimed that her children were not hungry and in need of gifts.

She alleged that her freezer was stocked with food items and school clothes, supplies, and shoes worth two thousand dollars.

Instead of donating on behalf of her kids, Tammy asked to donate the money to a Children's Hospital in Dayton, especially the oncology department.

A netizen's comment on the viral video | Photo:  youtube.com/WLWT

A netizen's comment on the viral video | Photo: youtube.com/WLWT

Despite her claims, many social media users criticized the mother-of-five for lying, as pictures that later surfaced proved she and her kids lived in deplorable conditions.

In the end, Tammy and her husband were charged to court. They pleaded not guilty, admitting that they were unaware their son walked out of the house. However, information about the children's welfare and the court's decision remains unknown.

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