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7-year-old found trying to sell toy to buy food – officer goes above call of duty

It was a heartbreaking find for one police officer when he was called to reports of a 7-year-old found wandering the streets alone.

Officer Steve Dunham was on patrol in Franklin, Ohio, when he was called to the scene and found a distressed boy.

According to the police department the boy was trying to sell his teddy bear so he could buy food as he hadn’t eaten in several days.

“We heard about the boy from a concerned man who came into the police station and said there was a small child carrying a stuffed animal in a busy section of Franklin,” Franklin Police Officer Steve Dunham told CNN.


When Dunham arrived at the scene, he noticed the boy in front of a pharmacy. He got out of his patrol car to speak with him. The young boy was really nervous at first, Dunham said.

“I think he thought he would get in trouble,” he said. “He told me he was hungry and was trying to get money for food.”

Officer Dunham then took him to buy food and then back to Franklin Police Department.

“We said a little prayer and ate dinner together,” he told WLWT News.

Franklin Police Department

Chief Russ Whitman told WLWT News that officers will always treat a child in these kind of situations as if they were their own.

“They treat them like their own kids and that’s exactly what law enforcement does in situations like this, is how would we want someone to treat our kids.”

“I’m very proud of my officers for what they did, but officers across the nation go above and beyond every single day,” Whitman said. “We just happened to be put in the limelight. You can find stories like this everywhere with police officers every day. That’s why we get into this business, to help people.”


When officers investigated the boy’s home he shared with his four brothers and parents they were horrified to find squalid conditions.

The officers who went to the boy’s home told reporters it “was in deplorable condition and there were other children there.” There were garbage and liquor bottles everywhere.

“Cockroaches, urine, cat urine, human urine,” Chief Whitman said they discovered in the boy’s home.

According to the police, four other boys – ages 11, 12, 15 and 17 -– also lived in the house.

Child endangering

The parents have since been charged with 10 counts of child endangering.

“Hopefully these officers’ actions changed these kids lives and we’ve changed the lives of the parents.”

Watch Officer Dunham’s modest reaction to his heroic actions that day in the clip below.

Another example of compassion shown by police officers! Thank you Officer Dunham for helping the little boy. The little boy must have been so hungry to sell his teddy bear. Teddy bears are so special to children. I hope this little boy and his siblings are not returned to these irresponsible parents.

My heart goes out to those poor children. 

Please share to pay tribute to Officer Dunham and all the other officers who go above and beyond the call of duty every day.