A West Virginia couple, Ellio and Ryan Hardman, have been arrested after their eight-year-old daughter jumped out of a second-floor bedroom window to find food. The child was found barefoot and holding her teddy bear at a nearby Family Dollar store, where she begged strangers for food. She told employees and law enforcement that the only thing she had eaten was a sandwich made by one of her three siblings. When police arrived at the child's home, they found it fully stocked with food. The couple's arrest came after their daughter's desperate act for sustenance.
Family Dollar employees immediately took care of the girl and called the police when they saw her walking alone, hungry and abandoned by her parents. The employees said that the girl told them, "My mom and dad don't want me anymore. Do you have anything I can eat?" The child's father claimed that he thought she was upstairs with one of her siblings when officers asked him where she was. However, it was later revealed that the girl was often confined to her room for days without food as punishment.
One of her siblings confirmed this claim, stating that the punishment could sometimes last up to a week. Police officers found adequate food supplies for the entire family, as well as drug paraphernalia, during a search of the couple's home. The parents were charged with child neglect and taken into custody on a $100,000 cash-only bond. The four children, including the eight-year-old girl, were removed from the home, but it remains unclear where they were sent to stay. The story has shocked and saddened many, with Family Dollar employees expressing their distress at the child's hunger and feeling that no child should ever feel unwanted. Not much is known about the Hardmans, but Ryan Hardman's social media accounts depict him as a loving father, with pictures of him with his children and references to his aspirations of becoming a professional wrestler.
It is unclear whether Ryan has ever served in the U.S. Air Force, as suggested by photos of him in a uniform. The case serves as a reminder of the importance of providing the basic necessities and care for children and the devastating consequences when parents neglect their responsibilities.