Boy Dies After Dad & Stepmom Allegedly Force Him To Drink 3 Liters of Water in 4 hours

Zachary Sabin
Gazette Obituary

Two adults in El Paso County, Colorado, have turned themselves in after being accused of forcing an 11-year-old boy to die. Forty-one-year-old Ryan and Tara Sabin, 42, allegedly made Ryan's son, Zachary Sabin, drink four 24-ounce bottles over four hours without food because of his "bed wetting issue" -- but the act proved to be fatal. The couple now face several charges, including child abuse and first-degree murder, after turning themselves in this week.

  • The incident happened on March 10.

    Zachary was with his father and stepmom when they reportedly forced him to drink the large amounts of water, which made him sick, according to KKTV

  • Advertisement
  • The dad told police he put his son to bed around 11:15 p.m.

    His stepmother also spoke with authorities and told them that they made him drink the large quantities of water before bed because his urine was "really dark and really smelly." Typically, Zachary wore a diaper to bed for his "bed wetting issue," which was the result of a hereditary medical problem.

  • Tara claimed that Zachary needed to drink at least two 32-ounce bottles of water daily for his condition.

    Ryan told police that before he put his son to bed, the boy was sipping on the water and throwing it up. At one point, the dad told Zachary to just chug the water to get it down, CBS 4 reported.

    "He was drinking the water too slowly and getting air in his stomach which caused the water to sit on top of it," the dad explained to police about why his son was throwing up. He told his son to just "burp it out."

    Police believe that Zachary then threw a fit with his father, which Ryan said included "flailing around and putting on an act," the Daily Mail reported.

    Ryan admitted to kicking his son at least twice. The dad also claimed that all he did was pick Zachary up and then release him, which caused him to hit his head when he fell to the ground.

  • Ryan reportedly brought Zachary outside, hoping the cold air would help his son "snap out of it."

    When that didn't work, he brought the boy inside to lie on the floor and could hear Zachary snoring, KKTV stated. Then, according to the arrest papers, Ryan said Zachary sat up and crossed his legs before slumping forward and returning to snoring.

    According to Ryan, he put his son to bed thinking things were fine.

  • The next morning Ryan said he found Zachary with foam in his mouth and blood on his bed.

    At 6:15 a.m. March 11, Ryan called police to report the incident, and the boy was declared dead.

  • A coroner's report revealed that Zachary suffered "blunt force trauma" when he died.

    The coroner also reported that the boy died as a result of "forced water intoxication."

    An arrest affidavit showed that Zachary suffered from other physical abuse at the hands of his parent and stepparent, The Daily Mail stated, as did other children. Ryan and Tara turned themselves in to police Tuesday, months after authorities started their investigation.

    The couple are both being held at El Paso County jail without bail and face several charges, including child abuse and first-degree murder.

  • Family spoke about Zachary's enduring legacy in an obituary written at the time of his death.

    "He is loved by many and remembered by his unique and contagious laugh, continuous smile, goofy spirit, obsession with chicken nuggets, love of books and reading, and love for animals," the obituary for the fifth-grader read. "He talked and dreamed of being a Zoo Keeper or Veterinarian and loved his birds, turtle and dogs.

    "If it was hard to find Zach, it's because he was hiding somewhere quiet to read," the obituary continued. "He loved to wrestle and play video games with his big brothers and play trucks and trains with his little brothers. He would make bracelets and crafts with his older sister and play dolls and read to his little sister. He was always a gentle guardian to those littler than him."