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Parents charged in boy’s fatal dehydration

SUNDAY, AUG. 28, 2011

DALLAS – A 10-year-old Dallas-area boy who died of dehydration after his father and stepmother kept water from him was being punished for wetting the bed, authorities say.

The boy, Jonathan James, died July 25 after water was kept from him for five days while temperatures soared to 100 degrees or more each day, police said. The boy’s father, Michael Ray James, and stepmother, Tina Alberson, both 42, were jailed after being charged Thursday with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury.

Jonathan’s twin brother, Joseph James, and a 12-year-old stepbrother were not injured and are staying with relatives.

Joseph James told the Dallas Morning News that his parents put Jonathan in a room without air conditioning and told him to stand by the window. Joseph said that on the day Jonathan died he had peanut butter stuck in his throat but his parents wouldn’t let him wash it down.

“They still wouldn’t let him have water,” Joseph said.

Joseph told the newspaper he wanted to help his brother but was worried he would face similar punishment.

“I wanted to do something, but I couldn’t,” Joseph said. “I couldn’t do nothing because I would get in trouble.”

Police documents show the boy suffered until he collapsed at his father’s Red Bird home and hit his head on the floor. He was taken to a hospital, and authorities say Michael James told authorities there that Jonathan was sick. Medical staff were unable to revive the child.


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