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Girl, 5, dies after being force fed soft drink

A five-year-old girl in the US died after she was forced to drink two litres of soda and water by her parents.

Alexa Linboom from Tennessee was punished after she took some of her stepmother's soft drink at the family's Surgoinsville home without permission, reported NY Daily.

The girl's father Randall Lee Vaughn, 41 and stepmother Mary Lavonne Vaughn, 58, will stand trial for murder and aggravated child abuse, a judge ruled last Friday, two years after her death.

They were arrested after the 25-month investigation found all the liquid caused Alexa's head to swell because of "acute fluid/water intoxication," the Kingsport Times News reported.

BRAIN SWELLED AND RUPTURED

Alexa was forced to drink more than two litres of grape soda and water in less than two hours on Jan 1, 2012.

The parents took the unresponsive girl to a local hospital, and she was later flown to a children's hospital.

She was pronounced brain dead and died two days later.

The excessive drinking caused the girl's brain to swell and rupture..

"They (the parents) also failed to take care of the child once she was injured," District Attorney General Berkeley Bell said.

"Our position is it was a matter of several hours after the child started exhibiting serious symptoms, after the child was screaming out in pain, went into a paralysed state, and became unconscious."

The parents each face charges of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated child neglect and aggravated child abuse. They are being held in lieu of US$500,000 (S$634,000) bond.

"They treated this child so cruelly that it caused the child to die," the district attorney told Kingsport Times News.

"I don't know if their intent was to kill the child, but their intent certainly was to harm the child."

The trial date has been set for Oct 20, according to the circuit court clerk's office.