A couple in Tennessee have been charged with murder after punishing their 5-year old daughter by forcing her to drink almost 3 litres of grape soda and water which ultimately led to her death.
NBC News reports that in indictments unsealed Monday, a Hawkins County grand jury charged Mary Lavonne Vaughn, 58, and Randall Lee Vaughn, 41, of the town of Surgoinsville with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and two counts of aggravated child neglect each.
A court appearance was scheduled for Friday.
The Vaughns remained in the Hawkins County Jail this morning on $500,000 bond. They were arrested Wednesday and were scheduled to make their first court appearance Friday.
Randall Vaughn was Alexa’s biological father, and Mary Vaughn was her stepmother.
The Hawkins County Sheriff Department said in a statement that its investigation revealed that Alexa had been told to stop drinking her stepmother’s grape soda. When she was caught drinking some again, it said, she was forced to drink 2.4 liters — about 81 ounces — of the soda and water in a period of one to two hours.
Third Judicial District Attorney Berkley Bell told the Times-News of Kingsport that the Vaughns “also failed to take care of the child once she was injured,” saying they didn’t take her to a hospital until “several hours after the child started exhibiting serious symptoms, after the child was screaming out in pain, went into a paralyzed state and became unconscious.”
Alexa lived in the home with five other childen, all of whom are now in foster care, the Times-News reported.