Dallas Couple Accused Of Dehydrating 10-Year-Old Boy

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.

  • http://dallasforme.com/2011/08/police-arrest-dad-stepmom-in-death-of-10-year-old-dallas-boy/ Police Arrest Dad, Stepmom In Death Of 10-Year-Old Dallas Boy — Me and the Chicks

    […] Post Tweet Police say the father and stepmother of the boy played a part in his death. More from: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/0… PreviousPost […]

  • Troll Slayer

    Good God, these are the ugliest people ever created.

    • Ryan Chambers

      i completely agree

  • http://fortworthinsight.com/news/police-arrest-dad-stepmom-in-death-of-10-year-old-dallas-boy/ Police Arrest Dad, Stepmom In Death Of 10-Year-Old Dallas Boy « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] Police Arrest Dad, Stepmom In Death Of 10-Year-Old Dallas Boy Police say the father and stepmother of the boy played a part in his death. Go to News Source […]

  • Hoo

    Couple of beauts Clark.

  • GKoen

    Thank you for a clear report. I read Star Telegram’s report and was left scratching my head. “The Dallas County Medical Examiner did an autopsy, and found evidence of foul play. Today police said James and Alberson played a role in Johnathan’s death. As of 3:30 p.m. police have not said what that role was.” Your last three sentences cleared it up for me.

  • NiteNurse

    I thought that story sounded odd when I first heard it. I mean it’s unusual for a 10 year old to die of heat stroke while other children in the house were fine. Plus the parents were avoiding the press and looking at them as obese as they are you would think the search for AC to cool the house would be the first thought on their minds after food.

  • suzy

    Kids and animals do not have a choice, adults do. This breaks my heart. May he rest in peace. It blows my mind the amount of stupidity I read today about people.

  • Geekesque

    What they’ve done is beyond cruel–It rates as torture and these two should have to face the worst possible punishment. That poor child.

  • 2sister

    What these two are accused of doing is horrible. If they are guilty, they need to face the severest penalties possible. I would go for the death penalty if that is allowed. At the very least, if they are guilty, they should get life with no parole.

  • RANA

    I Think they should get life in prison with no WATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Marcie


  • fredpat

    I pray deeply for this grieving mother. Sadly, there have been many child deaths and injuries that never become news worthy. One thing these cases have in common are decisions made by family court judges who decide if a child stays with abusive parents.
    Weirdly, the decision is usually based on which parent the judge likes the most
    and simply ignore the facts of the case, which is highly incompetent in any other
    legal realm. Tragically, the power these judges have is absolute, and their
    decisions can lead to a child’s death.
    Essentially their decision can be a death sentence for many. Afterwards, their typical mindless comment is “I don’t think I did anything wrong”, and if they call themselves republican they always get re-elected. There are no Federally guaranteed protections for children. There should be. As long as these judges are not accountable, these abuses will continue, and we will continue ot learn of only a few of them between commercials.

    • Marcie

      grieving mother…r u for real? she denied water to her child resulting in death because of this “mother” I mean monster….

      • Ginny

        Do you have reading comperhension problems? It was the father and STEP-mother that withheld water from him. He had a mother, and was on a court appointed visit with his father and STEP-mother. I am sure that his MOTHER, (note I wrote MOTHER, not STEP-mother, just as fredpat did) is suffering horribly, and all you can do is call the poor woman a monster.

  • Kay Miers

    I just heard this morning that all these people involved have been investigated by CPS in the past! But once again the system has failed!! How many complaints or visits does it take to “SAVE” a child?….But wait~… we have to wait until …A CHILD DIES?….AGAIN LORD HELP US!! Same Story from CPS as usual…could not find sufficient evidence to remove a child, or better still why were they called in the first place?..

  • fredpat

    Kay Miers, I can’t agree more. However, ‘the system’ works only if the decision makers are competent. The system supports the infallibilty of family court judges who make these decisions.
    CPS does a great job, but they have to present evidence that would be relevant in the criminal realm. What if the judge decides he/she doesn’t like the investigator, their dress style, whatever. In the family court realm, the judge can ignore it all, which they obviously do, and we all know they do.
    On the otherhand, if CPS were a political organization that provided financial assistance and endorsement for judge re-election, there would be more protection for abused children. In this particular case the judge who allowed the abuse to occur will be re-elected, because they are infallible,
    BTW, the cop on TV indicated that deprivation of water for this child is not abuse. It would be considerd elder abuse. It is commonly used for torture. The distiction is because adults have federal civil rights protection, where children do not.

  • Cindy


  • Fred

    Can we please have a public hanging for these folks this weekend. I will pay to watch.

    • Krystle

      They make break the noose. Nothing short of a tow truck could hoist these lazy pricks in the air.

  • http://dallasforme.com/2011/08/dallas-couple-accused-of-dehydrating-10-year-old-boy-3/ Dallas Couple Accused Of Dehydrating 10-Year-Old Boy — Me and the Chicks

    […] Post Tweet Police say the father and stepmother of the boy played a part in his death. More from: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/0… PreviousPost […]

  • fredpat

    There will always be predators who prey on the the weak, the vulnerable, and
    children. However, we have our faith in a protective system that mindlessly
    repeats the slogan “the best interst of the child”.
    After learning more about this case, I can guarantee that this little boy was
    kept in this dangerous environment because some family court judge in dallas county mindlessly decided it, and his/her decisions are enforced by law. It
    doesnt matter what CPS recommends. I’ll bet that judge will never be identified.
    Whats the point; afterall, he/she is infallable.
    Those two obese charactors are psychos, with as much a sense of
    responsiblity as a dangerous dog. We all know this is obvious. Even if they offered a paid-per-view- “hanging”, like in Iran, these same individuals who
    put this child in danger will still be around and continue to keep or put other
    children in danger.

  • Helen

    This was pure mean, mean, mean. Look at these two, they don’t look like they have gone without any food or water. What this poor boy endured during his short little life – NOT RIGHT – and now the other brother has to live with this. These two parents should never see the light of day. I would like the judge deny them water for a few days to see what it must have been like, but then they are in jail with air conditioning. But then again, they would be hollering mistreatment.

  • http://dallasforme.com/2011/08/dallas-couple-accused-of-dehydrating-10-year-old-boy-7/ Dallas Couple Accused Of Dehydrating 10-Year-Old Boy — Me and the Chicks

    […] Post Tweet Police say the father and stepmother of the boy played a part in his death. More from: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/0… […]

  • Callie

    Are these people related to Christian Choate’s parents/stepmother? What monsters.

  • http://childabuseheadlines.com/2011/08/27/child-abuse-news-82711/ CHILD ABUSE NEWS 8/27/11 | Child Abuse Headlines.Com


  • Valerie Emerson

    the further we go into the future with all our knowldge and humanity the farther behind we get! I read daily terrible stories every day happening to children, for being so well educated and an informed society. why are these kinds of things still happening? Because punishment laws are to lax! we have coddled the crimanel and made life to soft for them, no one fears going to prison. no one fears braking the law, bring back the stocks the rack the guillotine and watch the crimes lesten.

    • AW

      i have been horrified at the cruelety to children I have been reading about lately !

  • Gloria

    You can’t tell me these two wonders were so beyond stupid that they didn’t know denying water for a week would kill you. If so then sterilize that thing called a women and throw them both into a dry pit til they turn to prunes.

    • Marcie

      right… morons or just plain evil…I’m thinking both

  • pmar

    This is a sad story. I hope that lil boy had some small moments of joy in his short life. Those sick, evil, and disgusting adults who abused him will hopefully get the death penalty…the thought of having to pay for them to live in prison for the rest of their lives (comfortably) is troubling.

  • Tree

    Jonathan James | Visit Guest Book
    James, Jonathan Jonathan James, 10, was born November 30, 2000 and passed away July 25, 2011. Jonathan is survived by his mother, Krista Bishop & step-dad, Chuck; father, Michael James; brothers, Billy & Joseph; grandmother, Sue Shotwell; great grandparents, Dorothy & Bill Martin; grandparents, Ed & Sheila Pakkan; aunt, Leah Koontz and husband, Kyle; and uncles, Michael & Ray Shotwell. Funeral services are 10:00 am, Friday, July 29, 2011 at First Baptist Church, 323 W. Wheatland Rd., Duncanville, TX. Burial will follow at Little Bethel Memorial Park. Visitation with the family is 6-8 PM, TODAY, July 28, 2011 at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to the Jonathan James Memorial Fund at Chase Bank, account# 962462222.

    Published in Dallas Morning News on July 28, 2011

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