A Tennessee couple is facing murder charges after they forced a five-year-old girl to drink so much soda that she died.
The couple is identified as Randy and Mary Vaughn of Hawkins County.
The Vaughns' indictments were unsealed on Monday. They have both been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and two counts of aggravated child neglect.
Young Alexa Linboom died in 2013. It took investigators and medical experts a full two years to determine her exact cause of death. Officials announced last month that Alexa died of acute fluid intoxication causing hyponatremic encephalopathy. Translation: she drank so much fluid it killed her.
The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department said the Vaughns made Alexa drink more than two liters of soda and water on the day she died. Alexa was allegedly caught drinking her mother’s grape soda. The Vaughns had told her not to drink the soda many times before, and decided her continued disobedience called for a harsh punishment.
Like a parent who makes their child smoke an entire pack of cigarettes to quit smoking, the Vaughns made Alexa drink more than two liters of grape soda. The excess liquid intake caused her brain to swell and herniate, eventually killing her.
District attorney Berkley Bell told court officials the Vaughns failed to care for the child once she was exhibiting clear symptoms of a medical emergency. Alexa was screaming in pain, went into a paralyzed state, and fell unconscious before the Vaughns called 911.
They are currently being held in jail on $500,000 bond.