Cops: Girl, 5, Forced to Drink So Much Soda She Died

Parents are charged with first-degree murder over their punishment
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2014 4:25 PM CST
Updated Feb 9, 2014 7:01 PM CST
Cops: Girl, 5, Forced to Drink So Much Soda She Died
Randall and Mary Vaughn..   (Hawkins County Sheriff's Office)

A husband and wife in Tennessee are accused of making their 5-year-old daughter drink excessive amounts of grape soda and water as punishment—so much so that the girl died as a result, reports the Times-News of Kingsport. Randall Vaughn, 41, and Mary Vaughn, 58, are charged with first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated child neglect, and aggravated child abuse. They could face the death penalty in the death of Alexa Linboom, who is Randall Vaughn's biological daughter, reports WBIR.

Police say the couple decided to punish the girl after she drank one of her step-mother's grape sodas. They allegedly made her drink more than two liters of soda and water in an hour or two, reports the AP. The couple brought the girl to the hospital after she showed signs of distress, but she died two days later. The volume of liquid had overwhelmed her system and caused serious brain damage, says her autopsy. Alexa had moved to Tennessee to live with her father about three months ago, reportedly because of neglect at her previous home. (Read more Randall Lee Vaughn stories.)

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