11-year-old Zachary Sabin reportedly began vomiting and was later found dead in his bed

By Christine Pelisek and Christine Pelisek
June 18, 2020 03:33 PM
Advertisement
Zachary Sabin
Facebook

Colorado authorities have arrested a couple for allegedly killing their 11-year-old son by forcing him to drink four 24-ounce bottles of water in four hours.

Ryan, 41, and 42-year-old Tara Sabin are facing first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death and six counts of misdemeanor child abuse charges in the March 11 death of 11-year-old Zachary Sabin.

The couple turned themselves into the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.

According to the coroner’s report obtained by PEOPLE,  the boy died of forced water intoxication after he was made to drink four 24-ounce (.7-liter) bottles of water over the course of four hours without eating. The report said the boy began vomiting and was found dead in his bed with oral foam.

He also had bruises on his head, arms, shin and buttocks and a red contusion to his left eye. At the time of his death, the boy was wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pajama top and a urine-soaked diaper.

Tara Sabin, the boy’s stepmother, said Zachary suffered from a hereditary urological disorder which caused him to urinate in his bed, according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by PEOPLE.

The couple alleged that because of the boy's disorder, he was required to drink at least two 32 oz. bottles a day.

Ryan Sabin, a soldier at Fort Carson, allegedly told deputies that his wife called him on March 10 to inform him that Zachary hadn't drunk his water that day. When he arrived home, he said his son was only taking sips of the water and throwing up.

"He said [Zachary] was throwing up because he was drinking the water too slowly and getting air in his stomach which caused the water to sit on top of it," the affidavit states. "He said in the Army you chug water and just 'burp it out.' He said he kept telling [Zachary] to chug the water."

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

According to the affidavit, the boy later began complaining that he couldn't drink the water and had pain in his legs.

"Mr. Sabin said [Zachary] was lying on the floor throwing a fit," the affidavit states. "He said at one point he told [Zachary] to get up and kicked his leg. He said [Zachary] didn't get up and he told him to get up or he would kick him harder. He said he then did kick him a second time."

Ryan Sabin allegedly told deputies he brought his son outside, believing that the cool temperature would “snap [ Zachary] out of his tantrum,” the affidavit states.

He allegedly then brought the boy back inside and placed him back on the floor, where he began to snore. He told deputies the boy got up, walked around the kitchen grunting and "making other unintelligible noises" and went into the mudroom, "placed his hands on the wall and just stared at the wall" before he put him to bed around 11:15 p.m., the affidavit stated.

He called 911 the following morning around 6:15 a.m. when he found blood and foam coming out of his son’s mouth.

The couple will make their first appearance in court on June 23.

They are being held without bond. The district attorney’s office has yet to file charges.