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West Virginia Couple Arrested After Starving Girl Jumps Out Second-Floor Window to Ask Family Dollar Workers for Food: Cops

west virginia couple arrested daughter jumped out window
Source: West Virginia Regional Jail

Jul. 28 2023, Published 10:13 a.m. ET

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An 8-year-old West Virginia girl allegedly jumped out of her bedroom window and walked down to a Family Dollar to beg strangers for food — and now her parents have been arrested, according to authorities.

WOWK reported that Ellio and Ryan Hardman, both 33, were arrested after their barefoot daughter jumped out of a second-story window at their home in Calhoun County and walked to the retail chain.

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Once at the store, the girl allegedly told employees that her parents often told her and her three siblings that they didn’t want them, WOWK reported. She also told employees that all they have eaten in days was a sandwich a sibling had made.

A Family Dollar employee told WOWK, “The little girl, she came through the store, just walked up to us. And said, ‘I’m hungry. My mom and dad don’t want me no more. Do you have anything I can eat?’”

Another employee added, “So, we just took her to the back and took care of her until the cops got here.”

Police went to the home and spoke with the parents, who told police they thought their daughter was with one of her siblings upstairs, WOWK reported. Ryan Hardman told police this was not the first time she had left the home.

Child neglect
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The girl reportedly told officers she wasn’t allowed downstairs. She also allegedly said she would be punished by having to lay in her room for days without being fed, WOWK reported. One of her siblings claimed she witnessed this and the punishment lasted a week at times.

Officers searched the home and found “food in the cupboards, food pantry, refrigerator and freezer for the entire family” and none of it looked to be expired, according to WOWK. Police said they also allegedly found drug paraphernalia in the house.

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The Hardmans were arrested and charged with child neglect with risk of serious bodily injury or death and conspiracy, officials said. Their bonds were set at $100,000 each.

Officials said the couple’s four children were removed from the home and in the care of Child Protective Services.


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