Couple to Stand Trial in Child’s Death By Grape Soda

Allegedly forced girl to drink over 2 liters of grape soda as punishment

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The father and stepmother of a five-year old girl who died after she was forced to drink more than two liters of water and grape soda will stand trial for murder and aggravated child abuse, a judge ruled Friday, two years after her death.

Randall Vaughn and Mary Vaughn did not enter a plea at Friday’s arraignment, but were ordered to stand trial in October, authorities said. Both were held on $500,000 bond, and neither had an attorney representing them yet.

In early 2012, Alexa Linboom drank some of her stepmother’s grape soda after she was told it was off-limits. Prosecutors say that as a punishment, her stepmother Mary and father Randall made her drink several 12-ounce bottles of grape soda, and then refused to help her when she was clearly hurt, the Kingsport Times-News reports. “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 paralyzed state, and became unconscious,” prosecutor Berkeley Bell said.

The excessive drinking caused the child’s brain to swell and rupture, and she was blue and unresponsive with an “abnormal body posture that indicates severe brain damage” when the Vaughns brought her to the hospital, the Associated Press reports. She died Jan. 3, 2012 of acute fluid intoxication, and her death was ruled a homicide.