A starved eight-year-old girl was reportedly seen jumping out of a second-story window holding her teddy bear to look for food.
The girl’s parents, Ellio and Ryan Hardman, both 33, allegedly starved her before she hopped barefoot from her family’s home and wandered to a Family Dollar store, according to a criminal complaint obtained by WOWK.
She told workers at the discount store workers and cops on July 7 that a sandwich made by one of her three siblings was the only thing they had eaten for three days.
She claimed that her parents repeatedly told her and her siblings that they no longer wanted them.
‘The little girl she came through the store, just walked up to us,’ Family Dollar employee Kelly Hutchinson told the TV station on Monday.
‘And said, “I’m hungry. My mom and dad don’t want me no more. Do you have anything I can eat?”’
Authorities went to the home in Calhoun County, West Virginia, and asked the Hardmans if they knew where their daughter was.
Ryan said he believed she was upstairs with one of her siblings but that it would not be the first time that she ran away from home, states the complaint.
The girl told cops that she jumped out despite various hazards beneath because her parents would not let her go downstairs.
She said her parents punished her by making her lay in her room without food for days, and that it could go on for an entire week.
Another Family Dollar worker, Sandra Knickley, told the TV station that ‘it was sad and really concerning and we wasn’t about to let her leave and go anywhere else’.
‘So, we just took her to the back and took care of her until the cops got here,’ she said.
Cops who searched the home found ‘food in the cupboards, food pantry, refrigerator and freezer for the entire family’ that was not expired, according to the complaint.
In addition, they discovered drug paraphernalia.‘Me having kids of my own, it just broke my heart her saying she was hungry and haven’t ate,’ said Knicley.
‘No little girl should ever feel like she’s not wanted. No kid for that matter.’
The girl and three other kids were taken out of the home.
Both parents have been charged with child neglect and were booked into the Central Regional Jail on a cash-only $100,000 bond.
It comes less than two months after two parents in Georgia were charged with attempted murder after their 10-year-old son ran away from home and was discovered starving and begging for food in the neighborhood.