CALHOUN COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — Calhoun County parents appeared in court on Thursday after one of their children allegedly jumped out of a second-story window to find food.
33-year-old Ellio and Ryan Hardman were both arrested after their child – who was barefoot holding a teddy bear – jumped out of the house’s second-story window and went to a Family Dollar. The child told employees and law enforcement on July 7 at around 10:30 p.m. that the only thing they had eaten for three days was a sandwich made by one of their three siblings. They said their parents would regularly tell them they did not want them anymore.
“It was sad and really concerning and we wasn’t about to let her leave and go anywhere else,” said Sandra Knicley, Family Dollar employee. “So, we just took her to the back and took care of her until the cops got here.”
“The little girl she came through the store, just walked up to us,” said Kelly Hutchinson, Family Dollar employee. “And said, ‘I’m hungry. My mom and dad don’t want me no more. Do you have anything I can eat?’”
Law enforcement showed up at the home and asked the parents if they knew where their child was. The complaint said Ryan Hardman told them he believed they were with one of their siblings upstairs; however, this was not the first time she had left home.
When deputies asked the girl why she had jumped out of the window, which has several hazards underneath, she told them she wasn’t allowed downstairs. According to court records, she also said she would be punished by having to lay in her room for days without being fed. One of her siblings said she witnessed this, and at times that punishment lasted a week.
During the search of the home, officers found, “food in the cupboards, food pantry, refrigerator and freezer for the entire family,” and none of it looked to be expired. They also found drug paraphernalia.
“Me having kids of my own, it just broke my heart her saying she was hungry and haven’t ate,” Knicley said. “No little girl should ever feel like she’s not wanted. No kid for that matter.”
The girl and three other children were removed from the home.
The parents are being charged with child neglect and held in the Central Regional Jail on a $100,000 cash-only bond.