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Officer helps boy trying to sell teddy bear for food

A boy who was found wandering Sunday afternoon in downtown Franklin trying to sell his stuffed animal to buy food for himself and his four brothers, found a special ally: a Franklin police officer.

Officer Steve Dunham found the 7-year-old boy in front of a CVS drugstore trying to sell the toy. The boy told the officer that he hadn’t eaten in several days.

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Dunham took the boy across the street to a Subway restaurant, where he bought him something to eat before taking him to the police station. Two other officers went to the child’s home, where they found the other four boys, ages 11, 12, 15 and 17 living in squalor in a house full of garbage, cat urine and liquor bottles.

Warren County Children Services did an emergency removal of the children and placed them with relatives. The parents are not allowed to have any contact with the boys.

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Tammy and Michael Bethel are charged with five counts each of child endangering, all first-degree misdemeanors.

The Bethels were arraigned Tuesday in Franklin Municipal Court and have pretrial hearings set for Sept. 16.

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