WJTV News Channel 12 - Autopsy report sheds light on Hawkins County girl's final days

Autopsy report sheds light on Hawkins County girl's final days

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News Channel 11 has learned more about what led to the death of a 5 year old girl in Hawkins County.

Alexa Linboom died in January 2012 from what doctors call water intoxication.

This all happened after investigators said the little girl took an adult’s grape soda. They said her father and his wife then made her drink more than two liters of grape soda and water.

Alexa died at the hospital two days later.

Judge John Duggar issued a gag order on this case last week, which means attorneys cannot discuss the case. But a copy of the autopsy report, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, and prepared by the Quillen College of Medicine at ETSU, lays out what Alexa Linboom’s final days may have been like.

The autopsy report released by the state revealed Alexa died from water intoxication after being forced to drink 2.4 liters of water and grape soda over a one to two hour period before she was taken to the hospital.

The report detailed that Alexa was vomiting and urinating on herself after being forced to drink the liquid, and became unresponsive after trying to eat oatmeal to calm her stomach. Her caretakers told staff at the hospital that she woke up during the ride to the hospital and was playing patty cake during the drive.

Doctor Melissa Keene, Medical Director of Niswonger Children’s Hospital Medical Program, said if someone ingests too much liquid, the body’s sodium level can get dangerously low.

“So then as a compensation, your body tries to move the water to areas where sodium is higher, to areas like your brain and things like that, so then your brain gets too much water, and then your brain can start to swell,” Keene said.

District Attorney Berkeley Bell told us earlier this month that Alexa and her siblings suffered from other forms of abuse.

“There were other forms of punishment that had been administered to the children…Alternative, unusual forms of punishment,” Bell said.

The autopsy shows Alexa suffered from multiple blunt force injuries including bruising and scratching of her face, neck, body and legs.

Keene said the process of water intoxication can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, “It can lead to seizures as well, so the confusion, the slurred speech, the irritability, then coma, then eventually death.”

According to the report, the victim was an otherwise healthy little girl, with no other major medical conditions.

The autopsy also said Alexa moved to Tennessee to live with her father three months prior to the incident after being taken out of an allegedly neglectful home.

The medical examiner said the child’s only personal effects were a stuffed animal and a blanket.

The medical examiner ruled Alexa’s cause of death to be homicide, since the injuries that killed her were inflicted by another person.

Randall and Mary Vaughn are being held in the Hawkins County Jail on $500,000 bond. They are charged with first degree murder and aggravated child abuse. Their trial is set for October 20.

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