Published February 06, 2014
An East Tennessee couple is charged with murder in the death of the man's 5-year-old daughter after an autopsy revealed the girl died from being forced to drink more than 2 liters of grape soda and water.
According to the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office and the autopsy report, Alexa Linboom was brought in to the emergency room on Jan. 1, 2012, by her father, Randall Vaughn, and his wife, Mary Vaughn.
"Our position is it was a matter of several hours after the child started exhibiting serious symptoms, after the child was screaming out in pain, went into a paralyzed state and became unconscious," Berkeley Bell, the district attorney, told The Times-News.
The girl was blue and not responding. She had severe brain damage. An investigation revealed the girl had been forced to drink the water and soda over one to two hours as punishment. The massive intake of fluid caused her brain to swell and herniate.
"Allegedly the child, as a form of punishment, was forced to drink grape drinks, as well as a great deal of water, to the point that her body became water intoxicated," Bell told the paper. "That led to her brain swelling and all of her systems shutting down, and to her eventual brain death. The punishment was allegedly for stealing a grape drink. I don’t know exactly how much liquid she drank , but there was 4.5 12 ounce drinks plus water in-between."
The couple is being held at the Hawkins County Jail on a $500,000 bond each.
The Associated Press contributed to this report