A police officer in Franklin, Ohio was called to a local drugstore, where he found a young boy in the most dire of circumstances.
Officer Steve Dunham found the seven-year-old, and learned his story.
“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,” Dunham told WLWT.
Dunham took the little boy to Subway, where they both "said a little prayer and ate dinner together." After, they headed to the police station.
An investigation into the boy's home life was immediately launch. Police found out that he was living with his four brothers - aged 11, 12, 15 and 17, according to People - in a home "full of garbage, cat urine, and liquor bottles."
The boy's parents, who had no idea he had even left the house, where subsequently charged with ten counts of child endangerment.
Each brother was placed with a relative, and as of press time. The parents, who pled not guilty to first-degree misdemeanors, are not allowed to contact any of their children.
According to a police report filed by two other officers who visited teh home, "[the parents created] a substantial risk of health and safety by neglecting the cleanliness in the residence, having a large amount of bugs and spoiled food throughout the residence, not having properly prepared and packaged food for the minor children to eat, and allowing a 7-year-old child to wander from the residence without their permission or knowledge, in an attempt to locate food."
Franklin Police Chief Russ Whitman commended Officer Dunham's actions, that went beyond just bringing the boy to the station.
“(Police) treated them like their own kids, and that’s exactly what law enforcement does in situations like this," Whitman told WLWT.
"How would we want someone to treat our kids? Hopefully, these officers’ actions change these kids’ lives and maybe change the lives of the parents to become better parents."