Teen Dies Following "Tough Lesson"

Lesson on alcohol abuse goes horribly wrong

This is a story that will break your heart as a parent. We often try to find innovative ways to teach our teens lessons on important things in life; we want them to remember what we tell them and to take our teachings to heart. Unfortunately for one Wyoming family, their attempt to teach their teen son about the dangers of alcohol went too far, resulting in the teen’s death.

The mother and stepfather of 16-year-old Kendal Balls claim that they were just trying to teach him “a lesson about alcohol,” but it was a lesson that would end the young man’s life. Prosecutors in the case say that the teen died of acute alcohol poisoning after joining his stepfather and a friend for a drinking session in July of this year, according to the Uinta County Herald.


Cracking Down on Parents and Minors for Underage Drinking


The boy’s mother, Paulette Richardson, told investigators that he drank a few shots of Fireball whiskey and a few shots of Jack Daniel’s over a two-hour period on July 6. The teen then retired to bed around 10:30pm. When the stepfather went to check on him, he found the teen unresponsive and called an ambulance around 3:45am. The coroner says that Kendal had a blood alcohol content of 0.587, more than seven times the legal limit for an adult in Wyoming.

As a result of the incident, Paulette and Joseph Richardson, Kendal’s parents, were charged with involuntary manslaughter. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. According to documents in the court case, they told investigators that they intentionally tried to “get him sick” because he had been expressing an interest in alcohol since age 13 and they didn’t want him to become an alcoholic like his biological father. Prosecutors told the Herald that this case is a prime example of the dangers of some “traditional parenting lore.”