Murder charges dropped for stepmother arrested in 11-year-old's death

 11-year-old Zachary Sabin
11-year-old Zachary Sabin (KKTV)
Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 9:31 PM MDT
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Murder charges have been dropped for one of the two defendants at the center of a child death case.

Tara Sabin, arrested alongside her husband last week in the death of 11-year-old stepson Zachary Sabin, no longer faces first-degree murder charges. She is still charged with child abuse, including child abuse resulting in death.

A judge set her bond Tuesday at $50,000. A decision on bond was not made Tuesday for Zachary's biological father Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Sabin, who still faces first-degree murder charges.

Tara Sabin returns to court June 30. Ryan Sabin returns to court July 13.

Zachary died March 11 as a result of "forced water intoxication," according to the finding by the El Paso County Coroner's Office. The coroner's report says Zachary was forced to drink four 24-ounce bottles of water over four hours without food. He reportedly began vomiting and was found dead in his bed with oral foam. The coroner reports he also had blunt force trauma.

According to arrest papers, the boy's father told investigators he was supposed to drink water due to his "bedwetting issue." Tara told authorities they made him drink water because his urine was "really dark and really smelly," and that he wore a diaper at night because of hereditary medical problems. She said her husband required Zachary to drink at least two 32-ounce bottles a day.

Ryan told investigators that Zachary was sipping water and throwing it up the night of March 10. Ryan told Zachary to chug the water. At one point, Zachary is believed to have thrown a fit and Ryan allegedly kicked him twice. Ryan says he picked his son up, let him go, and Zachary fell to the ground and hit his head, according to arrest papers. Ryan says he then carried his son outside, thinking the cold air would "snap" Zachary out of his fit.

In the arrest papers, Ryan goes on to say he brought his son inside to lay on the floor and he started snoring. At one point, Zachary sat up and crossed his legs before slumping forward and snoring again.

Ryan told authorities he put his son to bed at about 11:15 p.m. He said he found him the next morning with foam coming from his mouth and blood on his bed. Ryan called 911 at about 6:15 a.m.

Ryan's attorney argued Tuesday that dying from too much water is not common knowledge, and he didn't know it would kill Zachary.

The judge told the attorney the facts of the case were not being discussed in Tuesday's hearing.

The couple was initially arrested on charges including first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death, and six counts of misdemeanor child abuse.

11 News learned Ryan is a soldier at Fort Carson, and Tara is an employee at TESSA. Tara is currently on unpaid administrative leave of absence.

Last week, Zachary's biological mother spoke for the first time publicly on the case. You can watch below.

She was present in court Tuesday.

Mother of Zachary Sabin speaks out

The biological mother of Zachary Sabin spoke to the public today. The boy's stepmom and father were arrested and are both suspected of murder.

Posted by KKTV 11 News on Friday, June 19, 2020

"The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office would like the thank the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the El Paso County Coroner’s office for their assistance in this case," the sheriff's office wrote in a release.