Evansville dad arrested for keeping kids without food, power "to teach them a lesson"

Ryan Fletcher (Photo: Vanderburgh Co. Jail)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - An Evansville father is facing child neglect charges for allegedly keeping his children in a home with no food or power.

Police say Ryan Fletcher admitted there was no electricity in the home on purpose to "teach his children a lesson." He explained that his children have everything they could want, so he wanted to show them how some families have to go without and that the "struggle is real."

But according to WFIE-TV, after Fletcher contacted Vectren to turn his power back on, workers said the power was not shut off on purpose and that Fletcher is often behind on his payments and has had his power turned off by the company many other times.

When officers entered the home, they reportedly were overpowered with the smell of animal feces and burnt marijuana. The thermostat read 52 degrees.

According to WFIE, two of Fletcher's children were wearing hoodies to try to stay warm, but a three-year-old girl with wet hair was shaking and her lips had turned blue.

Fletcher kept insisting that he turned the power off on purpose. The only food found in the house was animal crackers and dry spaghetti noodles.

Fletcher is facing three charges of child neglect. Two of the children were released to their grandparents, while the little girl was picked up by her mother.