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Parents Allegedly Murder Girl, 5, By Forcing Her To Drink 70 Oz Of Soda

Fri, February 7, 2014 6:17pm EDT by Lauren Cox 15 Comments
Girl Killed With Soda
Courtesy Photos

Two Tennessee parents have been charged with first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated child neglect, and aggravated child abuse, after they allegedly forced their 5-year-old daughter to drink more than 70 ounces of soda and water, which ultimately led to her death.

Alexa Linboom, 5, was forced to drink 70 ounces of grape soda and water in under two hours on Jan. 1 as punishment for taking one of her stepmother’s beverages. Alexa’s father, Randall Vaughn, 41, and his wife, Mary Vaughn, 58, ignored signs that the little girl was suffering until she became unconscious several hours later. By the time Alexa arrived to the hospital, she had already suffered extreme brain damage, and it was only a matter of time before she died.

Girl Killed With Soda: 5-Year-Old Dies After Parents Force Her To Drink 70 Oz

Randall and Mary Vaughn used “alternative forms of punishment” when it came to 5-year-old Alexa, according to Attorney General Berkeley Bell.

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When the couple caught little Alexa taking one of her stepmom’s drinks, they punished her by forcing her to drink an excessive 70 ounces of fluids in less than two hours, the UK’s Daily Mail reports. Alexa consumed at least 4.5 12-ounce bottles of grape soda, along with an unknown amount of water. After the punishment was administered, Randall and Mary ignored Alexa when she cried out in pain and even became paralyzed.

It wasn’t until the little girl was completely unconscious that they became concerned and brought her to the emergency room at Hawkins County Memorial Hospital. Alexa was then airlifted to Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, Tenn., where she passed away on Jan. 3.

Death By Fluid Intoxication

Alexa’s autopsy revealed that she died from acute fluid intoxication, which caused hyponatremic encephalopathy — the swelling of brain cells caused by low levels of sodium in the bloodstream.

Attorney General Berkley Bell explained that the case falls under Tennessee’s “Scotty Trexler Law,” which allows parents to be charged with murder if a child’s death is caused by abuse.

Randall and Mary are currently in custody at the Hawkins County Jail on $500,000 bail until their next court appearance.

— Lauren Cox

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