Autopsy: 11-year-old boy died of forced water intoxication, parents face murder charges

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EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — An arrest affidavit released Wednesday, detailed the moments leading up to an 11-year-old child’s death in March.

According to an autopsy, the 11-year-old boy died from forced water intoxication — which is water poisoning from drinking too much.

As a result of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office investigation, arrest warrants were issued for 41-year-old Ryan Sabin and 42-year-old Tara Sabin. They turned themselves into the El Paso County Jail on Tuesday and are both facing charges of first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death, and six counts of misdemeanor child abuse.

FOX21 News has confirmed Ryan Sabin was a soldier assigned to Fort Carson. He has served in the military for 18 years and is a Sgt. 1st Class with the Headquarters Battalion, 4th Infantry Division.

His awards include Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (4), Army Achievement Medal (5), Air Force Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, Army Superior Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal (3), National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star (3), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge, Parachute Badge, Air Assault Badge.

“Everyone is going to see how truly sad this case is,” said El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Detective Kat Huston.

The couple lived at a home north of the Black Forest in El Paso County.

In the court documents, it says the parents made the 11-year-old drink 64 ounces of water a day because he wets the bed. On March 10, he got in trouble for not drinking enough water, and he was told to drink more.

The child’s father told police “[His 11-year-old son] was supposed to drink water due to his bedwetting issue.” The night before he died, “he was flailing around putting on an act.”

In the step-mother’s interview with police she said:
“[The child] used to do exercises which were given to him by a physical therapist, but he would get dramatic and throw tantrums about doing the exercises. She said he would cry and say he couldn’t do them and throw himself on the floor.”

The documents show the 11-year-old was told to keep drinking water, while the rest of the family ate dinner.

“The arrest warrant affidavit documents what it is that Mr. and Mrs. Sabin said in their interviews,” said Det. Kat Huston. “Those details are important to figure those things out and everybody’s states of mind in a case.”

The father also told police he kicked the 11-year-old a few times when he “threw a fit.”

According to the affidavit, after being put to bed around 11:15 p.m. March 10.

Ryan Sabin called 9-1-1 just after 6 a.m. the next day saying:

“When he went down to check on [the child] there was blood and he was foaming at the mouth. [He] was cold and stiff.”

Huston said this one is heartbreaking.

“We are people too and a lot of us are parents as well, so any death is important to investigate fully, and to bring justice to the victims. I think that whenever its a child it hits a little bit harder for us,” Huston added.

The other five children, between the ages of 3 and 16, who lived with the couple have been removed from the home.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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