The parents of a 16-year-old teenager from Urie, Wyoming, have been arrested after they allegedly forced the boy to consume excessive amounts of alcohol — which ultimately led to his death, The Uinta County Herald reports. The boy, Kendal Ball, was found dead at his home on July 7 this year.
His parents Joseph M. Richardson and Paulette L. Richardson were charged with involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday in connection with with Kendal’s death. Kendal is the biological son of Paulette from an earlier marriage.
According to initial reports, Kendal’s mother and step-father “wanted to teach him a lesson” because the teen had, on several occasions, expressed his desire to drink and consume alcohol. The parents apparently wanted Kendal to get sick after alcohol consumption and learn about its bad after-effects the hard way. However their rather crude method of teaching the boy a lesson eventually led to his death. According to Paulette, she was worried about Kendal turning into an alcoholic like his own biological father and thought giving excessive amounts of alcohol and its after effects would eventually keep Kendal away from it.
Uinta County Attorney Loretta Gerrard opined that such lessons can end disastrously as it did in this case.
“I am not here to make parenting decisions for people. What I hope people understand, however, is that some traditional parenting lore, wives tales or theories don’t apply in an age where we have refined products that accelerate the effect of chemicals on the human body.”
According to a KTLA report, Kendal started drinking with his parents at around 8:30 p.m. on July 6 and they went on until 10:30 p.m. After that Ball went to bed — and even gave a thumbs up sign to his mother. However, when Richardson checked on Kendal a few hours later, he was unresponsive and the parents called 911.
In an affidavit filed at the local court, it states how Ball was found.
“[Ball’s] lips and eyelids were dark blue. There was a large amount of dark, thick fluid pooled on the floor from his mouth. There were multiple places that looked like vomit on the floor.”
A Uinta County Sheriff soon reached the location and found that Kendal had no pulse. A toxicology report later submitted to the court revealed that Kendal’s blood-alcohol level was 0.587. This was high enough to cause acute alcohol poisoning. To give an idea as to how high the teen’s blood alcohol levels were, a 140-pound man would need to drink 12 drinks in a span of three hours to reach a 0.31 blood alcohol level.
Prevention Management of Wyoming CEO Keith described Kendal Ball’s death as a terrible tragedy.
“This incident is a terrible tragedy. I think it highlights the work that we do in communities across Wyoming … including trying to educate people … about the dangers of underage drinking.”
If convicted, the parents of Kendal Ball could each face up to 20 years in prison.
[Images Via Uinta County Sheriff’s Office, KTLA]