New details revealed in case of 11-year old boy who died from forced water intoxication

Hours of testimony during bond hearing for boy's father accused of murder.
Zachary Sabin
Zachary Sabin(Copyright approved)
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 10:05 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - New insight revealed into the case against a couple accused of forcing a boy to drink so much water that he died. Zachary Sabin was 11-years old. His father, Ryan Sabin, and step-mother, Tara Sabin, are facing charges.

On Monday, the boy’s biological mother, Angela Tuetken, testified saying she was not aware of any underlying medical issues Zachary had nor was she aware of any doctor’s orders for him to drink a specific amount of water.

Tuetken stepped out of the courtroom before photos of her dead son were shown while a coroner testified about her findings. Dr. Emily Russell said the boy’s brain was swollen, fluid was found in his lung and in his heart cavities and his sodium levels in his blood were low. All evidence of forced water intoxication according to Dr. Russell.

Ryan Sabin is facing murder charges. During the hearing, his attorney pressed on the possibility of Zachary having kidney issues that prevented him from processing water normally and brought up questions about the possibility the boy may have been dehydrated. Both theories were dismissed by the coroner while on the stand who insisted her findings were consistent only with water intoxication and no other cause of death.

A possible defense strategy appeared to be calling into question if Zachary’s death was in fact a homicide as it’s currently ruled, or if his death was an accident.

Murder charges were dropped against Tara Sabin last month. In court, a video was played of Tarin Sabin sharing with detectives what led up to the boys death. She explained that the couple believed the boy needed to drink a certain amount of water everyday to help his urinary health. The night before they found the boy dead, she said she asked him to drink his water bottle and he resisted for hours, taking small sips and throwing up at one point. She explained the couple encouraged him to chug the bottle to ‘get it over with.' She is heard in the video saying Zachary eventually starting crying, throwing himself to the ground, saying his head and feet hurt before suddenly falling asleep on the ground.

She said when they tried to take him downstairs to bed after hours of getting him to drink his water, he started walking around the home randomly in silence and started bumping into things. When they checked on him in the morning he was dead in his bed with foam around his mouth.

The hearing will continue on Thursday when we’re expected to watch a two hour long recorded interview that Ryan Sabin had with detectives after the boy’s death.

Click here for our previous coverage on this case.

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