(WWBT) - After finding a small boy all by himself trying to sell his teddy bear for food, one officer went above and beyond the call of duty to help the child.
According to WLWT, Franklin Police Department officer Steve Durham found the child in a busy area after receiving calls on Sunday about a boy wandering in the city's downtown area.
Police said the seven-year-old was peddling his toy in front of a drug store to get money for food.
"It broke my heart," Dunham said to WLWT. "He told me he was trying to sell his stuffed animal to get money for food because he hadn't eaten in several days."
The officer took the boy to a nearby Subway to get some food, then brought him back to the police department where he could be kept safe.
"(We) said a little prayer and ate dinner together," Dunham said to WLWT.
Police discovered the boy and his four brothers lived in filthy conditions, with the home described as being full of garbage, cat urine and liquor bottles.
"(Police) treated them like their own kids, and that's exactly what law enforcement does in situations like this. How would we want someone to treat our kids?" Police Chief Russ Whitman said to WLWT. "Hopefully, these officers' actions change these kids' lives and maybe change the lives of the parents to become better parents."
WLWT reports the boy's parents were charged with ten counts of child endangering.
Dunham told WLWT he doesn't look at it as anything but just doing his job, and he made a new friend in the process.
"I came back to check on him and he was hiding. He jumped out to scare me when I came back in the building; he got me real good," Dunham said to WLWT. "(We) would like to go home at the end of the day feeling like (we've) done something positive and, you know, had some kind of positive impact."
Police told WLWT the 7-year-old boy and his brothers, ages 11, 12, 15 and 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.
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