HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. - A Hawkins County, Tennessee couple awaits trial charged with first degree murder and aggravated child abuse and neglect in the death of the father's five year old daughter two years ago.
The investigation centered around the child being forced to drink more than two liters of soda and water as punishment. The death shocked the entire county, and now they're rallying support to buy a headstone for Alexa Linboom.
On a windswept hillside in a country cemetery is a small grave. It's unmarked except for what was provided by the funeral home, as well as flowers and mementos left to remember 5-year-old Alexa Linboom. "Our hearts broke. When you teach these kids and you have them 10 months out of the year, they're your family. She went home for Christmas and didn't come back," said Karen Hostetter, her former teacher.
Hawkins County deputies tell us her father and stepmother, Randall and Mary Vaughn, are awaiting trial on charges of first degree murder, child abuse, and child neglect.
An effort was started by Alexa's two stepsisters to raise money for a tombstone.
Her former teacher heard about the efforts from another teacher. "Her half-sisters wanted to raise funds for a tombstone. She didn't have a tombstone. I honestly hadn't been to the gravesite since the burial," her fomer teacher says.
She remembers a little girl who was making her fist trip to school as an eager learner. "She wanted to learn everything that we were doing, from handwriting her name, to the parts of sentences. She was there and you could tell that you had her attention," Hostetter said.
Now Alexa has the attention of a lot of people. Her family has been looking for the proper tombstone and what it should say to remember a small girl who died a tragic death.
If you would like to make a donation you may send them to:
The Alexa Linboom Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 550
Rogersville, Tennessee 37857