MUNCIE, Ind. - Two Muncie parents were arrested and charged with possession of drugs and child neglect after a suspected drug overdose in their car, while their two young children slept in the backseat.
Muncie Police responded to the Arby's on South Madison Street around 8 a.m. on Saturday. They found two people who appeared to be passed out in the car.
The manager of the restaurant, Candy Richardson, called 911 after seeing the couple in the car and the children sleeping in the backseat.
“I'm gonna call the police. Something don’t seem right. Something don’t feel right," Richardson said.
Muncie Police Officer Jeff Pease was one of the first to respond.
"It’s a different feel, when you hear that call and a child’s involved," Pease said.
Body camera video during the incident shows a different side of the state's crippling drug epidemic.
Department of Child Services reports they've assessed nearly 3,000 calls for child abuse so far this year in Delaware County. That's an increase by more than 500 from this time in 2016.
Police believe the couple was high on meth and their kids may have slept in the car overnight. When police checked on the kids, they were found dirty and hungry. Police said the 2-year-old girl's diaper needed to be changed.
Officer Melissa Pease's first reaction to seeing the children was making sure they were safe and able to get a bite to eat.
"Very frustrating for us, because children are the number one priority and they’re not putting their children first. They’re choosing other things over their children. It’s heartbreaking," Officer Melissa Pease said.
The video shows Officer Melissa Pease carrying the 2-year-old inside the restaurant. The child's 6-year-old brother was also hungry and brought into the restaurant. The Arby's manager, Richardson offered to pay for the children's meal.
The children are seen happily eating and playing in the restaurant. Police worked to distract the children from the scene outside the restaurant where their parents were being arrested.
"I take the personal. I take that personal as far as I’m going to do everything I can for that kid at that moment," said Officer Jeff Pease. He added, "through us, through the employees at Arby’s, through DCS, all those people are going to stand up for those kids because the parents won’t."
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the DCS hotline at 800-800-5556.