Michael Ray James and his wife Tina Albertson were arrested by Dallas police and charged with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury after James’ 10 year old son Johnathan died of dehydration because his parents refused to give him water as punishment for wetting his bed.
According to local authorities, Johnathan James died July 25 after being denied water for five days while temperatures soared to 100 degrees or more each day.
Johnathan’s twin brother, Joseph, and a 12-year-old stepbrother were not injured and are staying with relatives.
Joseph told the Dallas Morning News that his parents put Johnathan in a room without air conditioning and told him to stand by the window. He also stated that his brother “had peanut butter stuck in his throat on the day he died, but his parents wouldn’t let him wash it down.”
“They still wouldn’t let him have water,” Joseph said. “I wanted to do something, but I couldn’t,” 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, where Michael James told authorities that Jonathan was sick. However, a medical team was unable to revive the boy.
Although bedwetting can be a symptom of an underlying disease including diabetes, urinary tract infections or even neurological abnormalities, only about 1% of children who wet their beds have any underlying physical condition. However, experts maintain that that doesn’t mean that the child who does so the bed can control it or is doing it on purpose. “Children who wet are not lazy, willful, or disobedient. Bedwetting is most often a developmental issue.”
In fact, many child experts contend that causes may include the fact that the child simply doesn’t wake when his bladder is full, or that he is unable to hold his urine through the entire night. Additional causes can often be tied to a stressful home-life in which the parents are in constant conflict, as well as emotional problems connected with major life changes including a new baby in the family as well as moving to a strange new home or starting a new school, or even sexual abuse.
Families here in Connecticut seeking help for bedwetting problems can try contacting any of the following treatment centers for more information:
Hamden Sleep Disorders Center LLC., 2543 Dixwell Ave., Hamden, CT 06514, 203 288-8300, Ages Seen 7 years and older
The Griffin Hospital Sleep Wellness Center, 130 Division St., Derby, CT 06418, 2030 732-7571, Doctors’ Referral required. Ages 16 & up.
Gaylord Sleep Medicine Trumbull Gaylord Hospital, 101 Merritt Blvd., Trumbull, CT 06611. 203 284-2818
Sleep Disorders Center Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center, 114 Woodland St., Hartford, CT 860 714-7100, Ages 5 & up
Hartford Hospital Sleep Disorder Center. 75 Jefferson St., Hartford, CT 06106 860 545-2996, Ages seen greater than or equal to 16
Yale Sleep Medicine, 40 Tempe St., New haven, CT 06510 203 764-6788, For those 12 years & up.
Sleep Disorders Center of Connecticut, 14 business Park Dr., Branford, CT 06405
203 288-8300, Age 7
The Center for Sleep Medicine at Bridgeport Hospital, 267 Grant St., Bridgeport, CT 06610, 203 384-3726, Requires doctors’ referral for those 4 years old and up.
GaylordSleep Medicine/Guilford Gaylord Hospital, 37 Soundview Rd, Guilford, CT 06437, 203 679-3519
Connecticut Center for Sleep Medicine Stamford Hospital, 30 Shelbourne Rd., Stamford, CT., 203 276-2300