When Alexa made it to the
hospital, signs were already present that suggested she had severe
brain damage, what wasn't apparent, was what could have caused it.
Alexa's posture was rigid, her color was blue and she was paralyzed,
which told Doctors her brain had suffered some kind of injury.
On New Years day Alexa was at home and she had become thirsty so she
decided to have a drink of grape soda, how could she have known what
would happen next. In the home that day were Alexa's father, Randall
Vaughn and her step- mother Mary Vaughn, who decided that this five and
half year old girl needed to learn a lesson about "stealing" from her
step-mother. As punishment for her crime of stealing grape soda, Alexa
was forced by these two people, who she trusted to take care of her, to
drink over two liters of soda and water:
"I don't know exactly
how much liquid she subsequently drank, but there was 4 - 5 12 oz
in between. The child was screaming out in pain, went into a paralyzed
state and become
They treated this child so cruelly that it caused the child to die. I
don't know if their
intent was to kill the child, but their intent certainly was to harm
Attorney - Berkley Bell
Alexa died two days after being brought into the hospital. An autopsy
showed that she had about 2.4 liters of soda over a one to two hour
time frame and showed that Alexa had bruises all over her body. Alexa's
death was ruled a homicide by way of acute fluid intoxication, her
father and stepmother were arrested and changed with first degree
and two counts of aggravated child neglect as well as aggravated child
In May of 2014 it was reported that before going to live with her
father in Tennessee, Alexa had been living in Illinois with her mother.
A called came into DCFS in 2007 claiming that an 11 month old child was
being neglected. Records from that call are no longer available only to
say that the case was opened and closed all within a three week time
period. A second call came in March of 2011 saying that Alexa was being
neglected and a case was opened though it was called a Differential
Response which is a program that was designed to keep children in their
homes, with their families and out of state care, unless it became 100%
necessary. Records show that no one ever actually spoke to Alexa's
mother, though several attempts were made by phone and home
visits and when contact wasn't made, her case was sent to
investigations and nothing ever happened with the case until it was
closed about a month later.
Alexa landed in the home of her father and stepmother in the Fall of
2011 and within a short time, she was dead. When a Case Worker went to
the home it was expected that there would be two children living there,
however, there were actually five children living in the home, the
remaining children were removed from the home.
In February of 2014, Randall Lee Vaughn, who was 41 years old and Mary
Vaughn, who was 58 years old, both plead not guilty at their first
court appearance which came after a two year investigation. A trial
date was set for October 20, 2014.
An investigation found that Alexa had urinated and vomited several
times before the decided to drive her to the hospital. The couple
admitted to having tried to feed her oatmeal in an attempt to calm her
stomach but she passed out. While in the car on the way to the
hospital, the couple say that Alexa was playing patty cake.