Ryan Fletcher said his children have everything they could ever want, and he wanted them to know what it felt like to struggle, according to police.
Evansville, Indiana, police were called to his home for a well-being check Tuesday after Fletcher’s two young sons, who were visiting Fletcher, texted their mother, saying there was no food or electricity in the home, according to an affidavit.
Police say Fletcher told responding officers it was “his house” and refused to let officers in. He told police that there was food in the house, but still wouldn’t let authorities check to see if there was electricity, the affidavit said.
Fletcher said he had purposely kept the electricity off to “teach his children a lesson.” But when he was asked what day he kept the power off, he “rambled on” without answering, police said.
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He explained that children struggle all over the city, going without food or electricity, and he wanted his kids to know the “struggle is real,” an affidavit said.
If his children got cold, they could just take a warm shower, Fletcher allegedly said.
Police say that after they explained how serious the situation was, Fletcher finally called Vectren, the utility, to have them turn the electricity back on.
But officers still wanted to check on the kids, according to the affidavit.
As they walked into the home they were immediately overpowered by the smell of animal feces and burnt marijuana, police said. The room was 52 degrees — it was 33 degrees outside but felt like 26 — and his two sons were in hoodies while a 3-year-old girl with wet hair shook and quivered from the cold, authorities said. Police said her lips looked blue.
Officers found only condiments in the refrigerator and animal crackers and dry spaghetti noodles in the cupboard, authorities said.
Fletcher told the cops he just wanted to teach his children a valuable lesson on how hard life could be, police said. But officers still arrested him on child neglect charges, court documents show. The children were taken from the home.
Court records don’t list an attorney for him.