DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Police have arrested the parents of a 10-year-old boy who died earlier this summer.
The boy’s father, Michael Ray James, and his stepmother, Tina Marie Alberson, both 42 years old, are charged with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury.
Their son, Johnathan James, died on July 25. At the time, Alberson told police the boy had complained of being hot and she had tried to cool him by putting him into a tub of cold water.
Police said the family home does not have central air conditioning and is cooled by window units and fans.
Johnathan’s death was originally classified as unexplained. The Dallas County Medical Examiner did an autopsy, and found evidence of foul play.
On Thursday, police said James and Alberson played a role in Johnathan’s death. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death was dehydration.
Dallas police say the parents would not allow the boy to drink any water as a punishment for bad behavior, and would force the child to stand in ‘time out’ for excessively long periods of time. Police say the boy was kept from drinking water for five days before his death.
They do say the boy was allowed to play outside during the five day stretch, but detectives were not sure if he was able to drink any water at that point.
Because the boy died, the injury to a child charges the parents are facing carry the same sentence as murder.
The parents are currently being held at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center. James is held on a $100,000 bond, Alberson $150,000.