Death by Soda

Soda can do more than rot your teeth and make you fat; it can kill you (Roderick Pena/Stewart's)

Soda can do more than rot your teeth and make you fat; it can kill you (Roderick Pena/Stewart’s)

I’m sure we have all heard the “urban legend” about a young boy caught smoking by his parents, who then lock him in a room with a carton of cigarettes and tell him not to come out until he has smoked them all. Their objective is obviously to punish the boy for being bad while also ensuring he gets so sick of smoking that he never picks up a cigarette again. Granted, this seems like a very extreme measure—especially where young children are concerned—but some would likely classify it as “tough love” and support such a decision.

I am not one of those people.

The reason I classify this example as an urban legend is because I’ve heard about it numerous times, but never knew anyone who actually experienced such punishment—at least not until I read about a Tennessee couple who did this very thing recently. Instead of using cigarettes to punish their 5-year-old daughter, though, they used something most of us would never consider dangerous: grape soda.

Randall Lee Vaughn, 41, and his wife Mary Lavonne Vaughn, 58, of Surgoinsville, Tennessee are currently being held on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child neglect and aggravated child abuse. If convicted, they could face up to 60 years in prison or even the death penalty, depending on how things play out. Of course, I hope the latter occurs and after you hear what they did, I’m sure you will feel the same.

Alexa Linboom died from drinking too much grape soda (The Guardian UK)

Alexa Linboom died from drinking too much grape soda (The Guardian UK)

Apparently, the Vaughn’s daughter Alexa Linboom—a precious little 5-year-old girl—stole several cans of grape soda that belonged to her stepmother, so they decided to teach her a lesson. In the span of only a few hours, they forced Alexa to drink more than two liters of grape soda and water. What they didn’t consider, however, is how damaging it can be to consume so much liquid in such a short time. It basically dropped Alexa’s sodium levels so low that her brain began to swell. She started to turn blue and when she became unresponsive, the couple put her in the car and drove her to the emergency room. Alexa was soon airlifted to Niswonger Children’s Hospital, but the brain damage she suffered was too great. She was removed from life support and died a few days later.

The official cause of Alexa’s death was homicide due to “acute fluid/water intoxication,” but it’s obvious that something more disturbing was to blame—something both of her parents seem to possess in spades: stupidity. After all, punishing Alexa with “time out” or even a small spanking would likely have taught her the lesson… and she would still be alive, too. Thanks to stupidity, though, the outcome was much different… and much more tragic.

And all because an innocent little girl took some grape soda… how ridiculous is that?

Posted on February 10, 2014, in Family, Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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