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Police: Jonathan James, 10-Year-Old, Died After Being Denied Water As Punishment

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Associated Press

DALLAS -- A 10-year-old Dallas-area boy who died of dehydration after his father and stepmother kept water from him was being punished for wetting the bed, authorities say.

The boy, Jonathan James died July 25 after water was kept from him for five days while temperatures soared to 100 degrees or more each day, police said. The boy's dad, Michael Ray James, and stepmother, Tina Alberson, both 42, were jailed after being charged Thursday with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury.

Jonathan's twin brother, Joseph James, and a 12-year-old stepbrother were not injured and are staying with relatives.

Attorneys for the dad and stepmother did not immediately return calls seeking comment left at their offices Saturday night.

"They still wouldn't let him have water," Joseph said.

Joseph told the newspaper he wanted to help his brother but was worried he would face similar punishment.

"I wanted to do something, but I couldn't," Joseph said. "I couldn't do nothing 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, and authorities say Michael James told authorities there that Jonathan was sick. Medical staff were unable to revive the child.

The boys' grandmother, Sue Shotwell, said Jonathan was easy-going and never held a grudge.

"This kid, if you know Jonathan, he could forgive you for no matter what you did," Shotwell said. "You could ground him, and he would say `I love you, Mimi.'"