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Michael and Tammi Bethel’s 7 year old son trading teddy bear for food

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Tammi Bethel
Pictured, Tammi Bethel and four of her five sons. Image via facebook.
Tammi Bethel
Pictured, Tammi Bethel and four of her five sons. Image via facebook.

How did Michael and Tammi Bethel not come to notice that one of their children had gone missing while maintaining a home of squalor? Children since removed.

Franklin, Ohio parents, Michael, 37 and Tammi Bethel, 35, have been charged with ten counts of child endangerment after police came across their seven year old wandering son trying to peddle of his teddy bear in exchange for food. Food which the boy hadn’t eaten in a number of days.

Taking the child to Subway’s for a meal it wasn’t until cops arrived at the boy’s family home that they realized that the child had been living among garbage, cat urine and liquor bottles. Even more disturbing was the fact that the child’s parents, Tammi and Michael Bethel were even aware that their 7 year old son had gone missing.

Taking umbrage against the charges against her, Tammi Bethel on Friday insisted that her home was in fact clean and her son ‘well taken care of.’

Wrote the mother of five on the Franklin Police Department’s Facebook page after the dept earlier posted discovering the roaming child:

‘I can also post pictures that I randomly took from January to August and it shows my house clean. 

‘The cop just popped up on the wrong day I hadn’t had a chance to clean the mess that all them kids had made…

‘BTW my kids didn’t even eat the food that the cops brought them because they had just ate.’ 

Adding: ‘Another BTW I could throw a rock from my house and hit CVS where my son was at. He goes down there all the time with his brothers.’  

Matters came to a head when cops received a call last Saturday regarding a young boy wandering the streets alone in the city estimated to have 11 000 inhabitants.

Tammi Bethel
Franklin Police Officer Steve Dunham

Told Franklin Police Officer Steve Dunham who came across the youth via WLWT: ‘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 said he and the boy ‘said a little prayer and ate dinner together’ at the Subway across the street before he brought the kid back to the police department.

Meanwhile, officers Amanda Myers and Kyle O’Neal dropped by the child’s home, only to find rotten food, ‘a large amount of bugs’ and squalid living conditions according to the Hamilton Journal News.

Photos from the home revealed a casserole dish sitting on top of the oven with leftover food while every other surface of the kitchen appears to be littered with containers.

Pictures inside the fridge showed it largely empty with puddles of brown liquid accumulating inside the door. 

Tammi Bethel

Tammi Bethel

Nevertheless Tammi Bethel insisted nothing was amiss, writing on Facebook that her kids created a mess, but were well clothed with ‘fresh kicks’.

She wrote yesterday: ‘All the kids are in the house. And my kids have went to Franklin long enough that we all know people. 

‘They are not babies. The cops had to force them to take [the food] saying don’t waste it. And my son has always had fresh kicks! 

‘As a matter of fact I bought all of them Steph Currys at the beginning of summer. Wth is wrong with being barefoot in the summer time? I know tons of ppl that go barefoot and it hasn’t killed them yet.’

She also wrote that she intended to file a lawsuit because an officer told her ‘none of this would go public right in front of the children services worker named Roy’. 

The Bethels, whose children range from seven, 11, 12, 15 and 17, had not realized their seven-year-old had wandered off.

Warren County Children Services removed the children, who are currently under the care of their relatives, and a judge barred the parents from contacting them.

Tammi and Michael Bethel are due to appear at a pre-trial hearing scheduled on September 16. 

Franklin police chief Russ Whitman said his officers treated the children ‘like their own kids’ before adding: ‘Hopefully, these officers’ actions change these kids’ lives and maybe change the lives of the parents to become better parents.’  

Tammi Bethel

Tammi Bethel

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  • ImOpining

    On her FB page she had her son write that she wants them to send money to her in jail. The gall!!!!!

  • ImOpining

    Now she’s slamming her husband that she left last week. She’s “disabled” so now she’ll get more of our tax dollars to support her lazy self. Even her friends are telling her to cut the drama on her FB.

  • Megs Red

    Yes. And nuts shouldn’t always have custody of their children, not to mention the ability to have any. Clearly this is one of those cases. Put those children where someone can care for them properly, and end at least SOME of their suffering.

  • Nancy

    Unfit parents. Stop defending them. She needs to take stop blaming everyone and own it!

  • Nancy

    She’s certainly not starving. LOL!

  • Nancy

    You’re nuts. Are you a relative?

  • Nancy

    And the would call social services. She blames everyone but herself..

  • Nancy

    ugh! that fridge should just be thrown out. She doesn’t have time to clean her fridge. She’s to busy playing the ‘blame game’ on social media… lose, lose.

  • Nancy

    So true..

  • Nancy

    Well said!

  • Nancy

    Yup! she’s got to blame someone.. and everyone blames the police because they have to do the dirty work. No pun intended..

  • Nancy

    You should be thanking the police..

  • Nancy

    NO KIDDING!!

  • Nancy

    Since when does that mean you have to be dirty? excuses, excuses…blame someone else..

  • Nancy

    Always blaming the police….

  • Nancy

    THEN TAKE CARE OF THEM!! MORE KIDS, MORE WELFARE>.

  • Nancy

    Fat ass is right…someone didn’t miss any meals..

  • Nancy

    Judging the looks of her, she didn’t miss any meals. She’s disgusting. It might happen.. but it has to stop.

  • Nancy

    No…………

  • Nancy

    She’s a nut…

  • Nancy

    What a couple of pathetic parents. Yup! just didn’t have a chance to clean the house. The place should be condemned. Mentally ill? she still has the audacity to say ‘ the kids didn’t even eat the food the cops brought’ – You ungrateful POS. How about a thank you… Those kids need to be removed immediately!!

  • ImOpining

    Well her GoFundMe (aka buy my lazy a$$ a house) has been taken down by the site.

  • ImOpining

    She’s not taking responsibility, she’s still blaming the police. Worse than lazy, she’s gross and vile and an obvious long time liar if she expects us to believe that was just a day of kids making a mess. Now she’s on GoFundMe begging for $25K for a house. She’s on FB saying she’s innocent, no mention of her guilty plea. She’s complaining about not having a big enough tv to watch football on so I suppose she’ll have another begging site for that. She’s also griping about her husband being back in the hospital for pancreatitis and saying it’s that durn drinking. On Twitter she’s looking for a maid but will do a background check due to having lots of expensive electronics. If she’s getting welfare I hope the govt sees her crap and stops her checks and not return her kids to her.

  • ImOpining

    They pled guilty last week. They took her go fund me down 🙂 She’s not taking responsibility, she’s still blaming the police. Worse than lazy, she’s gross and vile and an obvious long time liar if she expects us to believe that was just a day of kids making a mess. Now she’s on GoFundMe begging for $25K for a house. She’s on FB saying she’s innocent, no mention of her guilty plea. She’s complaining about not having a big enough tv to watch football on so I suppose she’ll have another begging site for that. She’s also griping about her husband being back in the hospital for pancreatitis and saying it’s that durn drinking. On Twitter she’s looking for a maid but will do a background check due to having lots of expensive electronics. If she’s getting welfare I hope the govt sees her crap and stops her checks and not return her kids to her.

  • ImOpining

    She’s all over FB blasting people and saying she was going to sue the state. Yet today in court they pled guilty. Vile, mean woman who didn’t need one child much less one.

  • ImOpining

    They took them away when this occurred. She claims she’s getting them back by tomorrow. But for all of the bullying and lying she’s doing both she and her husband pled guilty today. Sentencing on the 27th. wdtn DOT com/2016/09/16/parents-of-boy-who-tried-to-sell-teddy-bear-for-food-plead-guilty/

  • Megs Red

    Get sterilized. Please. Do the world a favor. Dont keep having children you obviously can’t take care of properly. You are disgusting.

  • Megs Red

    Have they taken those children away from that disgusting pig yet? She needs to be in a group home or shelter, BY HERSELF. Or in a cardboard box. I’m sure she can attempt to keep that clean. And on top of that, for Christ sakes, sterilize the bitch.

  • ImOpining

    Why did you have so many when you obviously can’t even take care of yourself?

  • ImOpining

    according to her. #SheLies

  • ImOpining

    Why have seven kids with different men if you have to rely on my hard earned tax dollars to support you all? #TrailerTrashBegging4HouseOnGoFundMe

  • ImOpining

    How about being open for a job, Tammi, rather than a handout.

  • ImOpining

    Go away Tammi, you’re court date is nearing and you need to rest before you blast the judge and threaten to sue him, too. #NastyPerson

  • ImOpining

    She’s on GoFundMe begging for people to buy her a home. She’s also begging on FB for a maid. Woman has some balls, eh?
    gofundme DOT com/2m5ehi4

  • ImOpining

    Now she’s on GoFundMe begging for people to buy her a home. She’s also begging on FB for a maid. Woman has some balls, eh?
    gofundme DOT com/2m5ehi4

  • fjb595

    Well, the kids all got fresh kicks. Steph Currys, in fact. So I don’t see how there could possibly be a problem with the parenting. And the photos were taken at a bad time. Just 5 minutes before the house was sparkling clean.

  • ImOpining

    She made it our business. Now she’s going to be using our tax dollars for attorneys and appeals and further clogging our legal/court system. Again.

  • ImOpining

    This family needs one of the adults to get a job. If she still thinks what was viewed in those pictures (esp the fridge – that took months to get that way) is okay, then she really doesn’t need to have those kids back.

  • Megs Red

    And the Country Crock. And the mustard. And the cream cheese (if you were lucky). Then you resorted to paper and Chapstick. This shit happens, folks.

  • Ro – dR

    No I’m demonstrating what a reasonable person might consider good help in a situation like this. No I do not think the state, or anyone else, needs to raise anyone’s kids. Obviously, this lady needs some help that isn’t really taught to so many, which leads to terrible problems especially in our society: consumer driven and cash strapped.

    A great lesson that seems helpful is, clean as you go (i have a number of kids and this seems to work well), and worry about food/shelter/clothes over brand recognition or popularity.

    I consider my response to be quite compassionate and empathetic to her situation that I drew from personal experience. I also suspect if you think about what I said, not how it made you feel, you may agree with me. The offense is not owned by the offender in social situations but the person who is offended.

  • xJenx

    It’s all ready been said many times, I don’t feel the need to beat a dead horse. Go look at the PD facebook page. People have said plenty to her about her choices. Are you really insulting a person for showing pity? Wow.

  • Ro – dR

    Yeah assistance with understanding how prioritize wants and needs. If I had money problems, the last thing I’d worry about was fresh ‘kicks’. I also highly suspect the kids did not refuse for being hungry, but out of fear understanding what DCF was, and how the police can lead to it. Let’s stop naive.

  • Ro – dR

    How about you help break the cycle by pointing out publicly the importance of not worrying about fresh ‘kicks’ when you’re poor. I think that’d be a swell start to help break the cycle. If you don’t teach her to fish, she’s going to keep fishing.

  • Ro – dR

    When I first saw the condiment bottles, I thought, ahh been there — ate all the ketchup and you’re still hungry.

  • Ro – dR

    Isn’t that even a greater reason to live in a clean environment? Let’s stop pretending we don’t know why the world is a rotten place, because we allow people to not take responsibility for their actions. Alone addressing the fact we’re talking about basic sustenance, and she talks about “fresh kicks”, talk about taking advantage of the recently homeless. Dunno who this stepanie person is selling shoes to brag about, but I hope they’re pretty inexpensive.

  • Megs Red

    I had a mother who kept house like this. I also went long times between meals, resorting to eating weeds, sticks of butter, dog biscuits, most of the time nothing. Sometimes neighbors fed me. Many times the fridge was empty and the house was a fucking disaster. And guess what? I got put into foster care. There is no defending the mess or a hungry child who is too young to be standing on a street corner with parents who don’t know or care where he is. This was all thirty years ago and I’m still dealing with the mental implications.

  • Tweedle Dee

    I can support all of my children. Period. No DCF here, ever. Clearly, they had too many if we have to support them.

  • Tweedle Dee

    Then he should act like one and make sure his house is in order, whoever cleans it!

  • PassionPassion

    You can’t possibly believe the rest of the house is clean if the fridge looks like this…

  • Revere

    You keep referencing how many fathers these children have. One, all seven children share one father. You are a self righteous bach!

  • Revere

    You don’t know what you are talking about. I already pointed out, this family is in need assistance and is also a DCF case (open).All of the seven children have one father. And no, it is not likely these children will be out of the home for long, based on the information the PD (unexplainably) chose to share with the public. This family is open to outside help – now get off your damned high horse and stop moralizing on how many children YOU believe they are allowed to have; it’s none of your business.

  • FUD Hater

    That phrase means “don’t criticize people if you have similar weaknesses”; in order for your stupid sound bite to mean anything, I would have to be living in a pig sty with multiple kids. I don’t.

  • FUD Hater

    So you didn’t see the food on the fucking floor?

  • Tweedle Dee

    I know! I caught that, too! Wonder how many fathers the seven have? And how much public assistance we’re paying so she can sit on her fat, dirty ass and abuse her kids via starvation and squalor.

  • Tweedle Dee

    Except I don’t live in a shithole and my kids are fed, have one father, and he works his ass off to pay for a good house that we all respect by keeping clean. She’s a failure, and I will go up against her any day of the week in comparison.

  • Tweedle Dee

    Cops simply cannot take a whole family of children for a dirty fridge. Their DA would never support the case. If anything, they have to err on the side of leaving kids in bad situations more often than not, because of the fear of lawsuits toward the municipality. Just because you only saw a photo of a dirty fridge does not mean there was only a dirty fridge. This idiot has seven total children from God knows how many fathers and is likely raking in thousands in government money each month with that litter. She’s everything that’s wrong with society in one fat package.

  • Tweedle Dee

    I’m with FUD. Anyone who thinks the cops will take children for a dirty fridge are fooling themselves. This was far more than just a messy fridge, I guarantee it. Not to mention the cat piss odor. She’s a failure at birth control and parenting.

  • Tweedle Dee

    Yet, by her own admission, she purchased expensive name-brand “kicks” for all her children. Why not go to Payless Shoe Source and use the rest of the money to buy cleaning supplies so you can keep your kids? Where are your priorities? And the police would never take children for just a messy fridge. Also, who would let their kids mess up the house and not help them clean it up? Uh, most normal parents wouldn’t. If your kids are old enough to walk, they’re old enough to learn to respect their home. Clearly, you can’t even master birth control, so how can anyone expect you to be a proper parent? And, by the way, how many fathers and how much assistance$$$ each month?

  • xJenx

    And I say it with nothing but sympathy; the case is sad all around. People don’t set out to neglect their children. They’re usually brought up in poverty and victims of neglect themselves. Maybe she will get help to break the cycle,

  • xJenx

    You can’t eat rotten food, though.

  • Revere

    Furthermore, how can they claim the child is “starving” in one breath and point out food left out in the next? BS sensationalized crap!

  • Revere

    What pig sty? There are two photos. . . a dirty refrigerator – oh no, everyone is gonna die. . . Climb down off that ivory tower. So she cleans her refrigerator, problem solved.

  • Revere

    Come on all ready! The media (as usual) is blowing this as far out of proportion as they possibly can in order to generate page hits at the expense of this family! In the end this family has to deal with the fallout. So they have a dirty refrigerator – BFD!

    I read the FOPD facebook page and frankly believe they should be ashamed of themselves. They want to make themselves heroes (I have no problem at all with law enforcement) and it is at the expense of others. The entire thread on facebook needs to be pulled down.

    I read every single post Mrs. Bethel posted on FB and frankly, found myself believing most of what she was saying . . . Okay the family probably needs some assistance (that is no big surprise, as Mrs. Bethel is clear she already has an open DCF case) but stop crucifying them! This is no “child kept in a cage” case! Grow up people and to the media – CTS!

  • bklynsteph

    Criminalizing a poor recently homeless family won’t help. She has Parkinson’s, and her two teens have Cancer.

  • bklynsteph

    People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  • bklynsteph

    I feel bad for you, I saw your old youtube video with you singing with your son. Not everyone can afford a maid, and I see food. I suggest leaving social media it will bring you down, just deal with your case and stay strong. Legal aide attorneys may help you pro bono. Kids do all types of weird things, the cop may have assumed too much. Children’s Services have destroyed family’s in many states. This is just wrong how you’re being treated. Your kids look clean, good teeth and loved in old photos.

  • FUD Hater

    It’s freaking astounding that you’re defending the pig sty shown in these photos…

  • scram2

    No food in the house but at least they have “fresh kicks.” smh..

  • Tammi Bethel

    I’m just saying that the person on the far left is not one of my son’s it is my daughter I have seven children altogether