Parents charged with murder after girl forced to drink 2 liters of soda dies

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HAWKINS COUNTY, TN – A Tennessee father and his wife are now facing murder charges in the man’s five-year-old daughter’s 2012 death. Authorities accuse the pair of forcing the child to drink two liters of liquid as a punishment. Officials say that’s what caused her death.

“She was allegedly force-fed so much liquid, that it caused the sodium level in her body to go down… and caused her brain to swell.” said Dist. Atty. General, 3rd Dist. Berkeley Bell.

A form of punishment bells says her father and his wife chose after Alexa was caught taking Mary Vaughn’s grape soda.

“She had taken one or two grape drinks and had snuck them off and drunk them.” ” said Bell.

But how could that cause a little girl to die? Bell says the large amount of liquid brought on seizures and excruciating pain.

From a local hospital, crews airlifted Alexa to Niswonger’s Children Hospital in Johnson City. But it was too late. She was declared brain dead a couple of days later on January 3, 2012.

So why did it take two years for charges to be filed? The pathologist did a very intensive and thorough investigation. It was 16 months before the autopsy came back.  That report landed on General Bell’s desk last november, where it sat until two weeks ago.

“The rest of the delay is really my fault. It took me two weeks to get all the stuff together and check everything out before we did the indictment.” said Bell.

Now, Randall and Mary Vaughn face first-degree murder charges for the death of their own daughter.

The girl’s father and his wife are also charged with aggravated child neglect and child abuse.

They are expected to appear in court on Friday.  They are each being held on $500,000 bond.

By: Mike Lamia

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