Couple face murder trial over child's soda death
A couple in Tennessee have been charged with the murder of a five-year-old girl, who was allegedly forced to drink over two litres of grape soda and water as a punishment for drinking her step-mother's soda after being told not to.
Alexa Linboom was taken to hospital on January 1, 2012, by her father, Randall-Lee Vaughn (41), and step-mother, Mary-Lee Vaughn (58), because she had turned blue and was unresponsive, according to local police.
Doctors discovered she had sustained severe brain damage. Alexa died two days later.
Her father and step-mother have now been charged with first degree murder, two counts of aggravated child neglect, and aggravated child abuse, after a two-year investigation into her death revealed she had died from acute fluid/water intoxication.
District attorney Berkeley Bell said: "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 paralysed state and became unconscious.
"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.
"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."
Five other children who were living at the property under their care have since been placed into foster care.