- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

SURGOINSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Family and friends of an East Tennessee girl who died in 2012 after police say she was forced to drink grape soda are collecting donations to purchase a headstone for her.

The Kingsport Times News (https://bit.ly/1f6El1M) reports the half-sisters of 5-year-old Alexa Linboom, their mother and a former teacher are collecting contributions. The child’s grave is now marked with a printed piece of paper in a plastic case.

The girl’s father and stepmother, Randall and Mary Vaughn, were charged with murder, abuse and neglect in her death. Authorities say the Hawkins County couple forced her to drink about 2.4 liters of soda and water over a one- to two-hour span as a punishment. The massive liquid intake caused her brain to swell and herniate.

Buckets have been placed at convenience stores in and around Surgoinsville for donations.

Meanwhile, teacher Karen Hostetler is working to set up a bank account for donations and has contacted Reece Monuments about making a headstone.

“It was just really a shame that she doesn’t have a proper gravestone up there,” Hostetler said. “It should be something special. She was a special child, and she deserves better than she’s got up there.”

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Information from: Kingsport Times-News, https://www.timesnews.net


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