A Tennessee couple pleaded not guilty Friday to murder and child abuse charges for allegedly intoxicating their 5-year-old daughter by having her chug more than two liters of water and grape soda, leading to her death.
Randall Lee Vaughn, 41, and Mary Vaughn, 58, of Surgoinsville were arrested this week after a two-year investigation into the death of the man’s daughter and his wife’s stepdaughter.
The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Department said the parents drove an unresponsive and discolored Alexa Linboom to the emergency room Jan. 1, 2012. She died two days later because of “acute fluid/water intoxication.” It caused her sodium level to drop, swelling the brain with water and severely damaging it. The death was eventually ruled a homicide
The Vaughns disciplined Alexa by forcing her to drink about 2.4 liters of fluid, including several 12-ounce cans of grape soda, in a span of one to two hours, according to an autopsy report prepared by the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. She was bruised throughout her body and had cuts on her face, the report states.