Couple charged in grape soda death
SURGOINSVILLE, Tenn. — An East Tennessee couple faces a murder charge, accused of forcing the man's 5-year-old daughter to drink more than two liters of grape soda and water, causing her brain to swell and rupture, authorities said.
According to the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office and the autopsy report, Alexa Linboom was brought to an emergency room on Jan. 1, 2012, by her father, Randall Vaughn, and his wife, Mary Vaughn.
The girl was blue and unresponsive with "an abnormal body posture that indicates severe brain damage," according to the autopsy completed in July 2013.
The Vaughns were arrested Wednesday and were being held at the Hawkins County Jail on a $500,000 bond each.
An investigation revealed the girl had been forced to drink about 2.4 liters of water and soda over one to two hours as punishment. The massive intake of fluid caused her brain to swell and herniate.
According to the autopsy, when she was forced to drink all that liquid, she began vomiting, urinated on herself and asked to take a bath.
"Outside of the bathtub, she tried to eat oatmeal with assistance then started clenching her hands." She arrived at the hospital about two to three hours later. She was transported by air to a regional hospital and pronounced brain dead two days later.
The autopsy states that the girl had moved to Tennessee to live with her father about three months before her death. The move was prompted by allegations of neglect at her previous home.
Officials find human remains
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Human remains have been found in Rutherford County and sent to the state Medical Examiner's Office for identification.
Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold told The Daily News Journal that the remains were recovered Sunday and Monday from an area southeast of Murfreesboro. He said authorities also hope to discover the person's cause of death.
The newspaper reports the remains appear to have been in the area for several months.
Roadside memorial for chickens eyed
GAINESVILLE, Ga. — An animal rights advocate wants to place a roadside memorial in Georgia to remember several chickens killed in a highway wreck.
A member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed an application for the memorial Wednesday with the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that, if approved, a memorial would be placed at the Hall County site where a truck hauling live chickens overturned Jan. 27.
Sarah Segal, of Atlanta, writes in her application that she wants to place a 10-foot tombstone memorial for one month on the right of way of U.S. 129 to mark the deaths of the chickens.
The driver of the chicken truck and the other vehicle involved were not seriously injured.
Schools reinstate midwinter break
DALTON, Ga. — Dalton Public Schools is reinstating its midwinter break for students and staff, according to a news release.
The break is scheduled to begin on Feb. 14 and end Feb. 18.
Get breaking news from the Times Free Press on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timesfreepress