Police say that a Texas boy died of dehydration after his parents denied him of drinking water as punishment after he had accidentally wet the bed. The 10-year-old Dallas boy, Jonathan James, died on July 25, according to police, after his parents prohibited him from drinking water in the five days leading up to his death. Temperatures in Dallas soared to 100 degrees or more on each of those days, police say.
Michael Ray James, his father, and Tina Alberson, his stepmother, were both charged on Thursday, August 25th and were jailed for injury to a child due to serious bodily injury. His twin brother, Joseph James, and his 12-year-old stepbrother were not injured; the two are currently staying with other family members.
According to Jonathan’s grandmother Sue Shotwell, her grandson had contacted her in June and told her that he was afraid of living with his parents during the month-long, court-ordered custody visit.
“[Jonathan] called me and said, ‘Can I come to your house instead? I know I’m going to be in trouble while I’m there because I always am,’” Shotwell said in an interview with the Dallas News on Friday. “That’s the first time we ever heard that from him. The boy, because of a court ordered custody arrangement, were spending the summer with their biological father, but they were not willing to stay with their father,” Shotwell said.
Shotwell also revealed to FOX News that Jonathan’s twin brother knew about the punishment, and she had told him that he didn’t need to feel guilty because there was nothing that he could have done. She notes that Joseph later confessed to his grandmother that he had wished that he had “snuck him some water.”
Police documents show that the 10-year-old collapsed and hit his head on the floor after 5-days of going without water. Joseph later told police that his brother was put in a room without air conditioning and was told to stand near the window with the scorching sun beating down on him. He also notes that his brother had peanut butter stuck in his throat on the day he died, but his parents still didn’t allow him to drink any water.
After his parents had realized that the boy’s body was shutting down, they put him in a cold bathtub before they called paramedics, police said. He shortly died after he was rushed to the hospital.