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February 20th, 2009
11:58 PM ET

All she wanted was a soda...

Update: The suspect has surrendered to police and has been charged with four felony counts. Read more for details.

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

All she wanted was a soda. Now she’s fighting for her life.

An 11-year-old girl from Alabama is in critical condition after drinking acid police say was contained in a bottle of Sprite. Investigators believe the child’s 42-year-old cousin was operating a “shake and bake” meth lab in a trailer on the family’s property.

The girl was playing Monday afternoon, noticed the bottle and took a sip of the toxic solution. Detective Charles Plitt of the Weaver Police Department tells us it's one of the worst cases he’s ever seen.

Bathtub crank, pink elephants, soap dope, sparkle and trash: these are just some of the dozens of street terms for methamphetamine. It is a potent drug and a very popular one. A 2004 government survey reported nearly 12-million Americans snort, smoke, shoot up, or swallow the stimulant.

Kids are also getting hooked at a staggering rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005 found 6.2% of high school students said they had used meth. Just think of the numbers.

The rush is immediate and the high often lasts for hours. But the cost is usually catastrophic. Lives are destroyed, or lost. This “poor man’s cocaine” has been shown to cause psychosis, paranoia, high fevers, strokes, permanent brain damage, and heart attacks.

There are many different “recipes” to make meth. And many places to cook it up. Clandestine labs dot the country. In 2007, the Drug and Enforcement Agency listed nearly 6,000 methamphetamine laboratory incidents. Missouri recorded the most incidents – 1,268 in 2007. But the homegrown drug factories are hard to detect.

Sometimes, it takes a horrific tragedy to uncover them. Such is the sad case out of Weaver.

The girl who drank the acid is in the hospital. The family hopes she survives. “If she lives,” the Anniston Star newspaper says, “she will spend the rest of her life with an IV or feeding tube.” Police say her cousin,

Wayne Thurman Tubbs, was running at least 6 meth labs. After surrendering to police Thursday night, he was charged with four felonies: two counts of unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance, chemical endangerment of a child, and assault in the first degree.

Tubbs had not pled in the case as of Friday evening, police said. He was being held without the option of bail until a March 30 preliminary hearing.

Detective Plitt says Tubbs, the girl's 42-year-old cousin, appeared upset that about the girl’s hospitalization.

To give you an idea of the extent of this drug epidemic, when authorities were looking for Tubbs, they went to another home – in addition to the property where Tubbs lived and the girl was found ill – only to discover a meth lab there as well.

So the man who allegedly filled a Sprite bottle with acid used to make methamphetamine is behind bars. But the girl who tried to drink that Sprite remains in critical condition.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. pellis

    and yet you can still legally be prescibed myth just google it and check any pdr it's in there.

    February 23, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  2. Brian/ West Virginia

    Why doesn't Amsterdam have problems with crystal meth and crack? Because they can get ahold of marijuana, the God given blessing and medicine that is illegal in the states!! People are resorting to the things that are more undetectable to avoid getting caught! Eradication is not working nor will it ever work! Let's try it the other way for awhile to see how many hard drug addicts we could wean off of their drugs, not to mention the trillions of dollars taken away from the drug gangs!! How much crime stopped when we repealed prohibition?? A LOT!!!!!

    February 23, 2009 at 8:06 am |
  3. Schmuck

    This is precisely why all drugs should be immediately legalized, legitimized, and taxed. When "drugs" are sold in stores, the quality will be higher, production will be safer, and the power will no longer be in the hands of retarded street level drug dealer thugs.

    Importantly, the stigma of use will no longer make people "hip" – instead, addicts will have nobody to blame but themselves, and they'll be considered the dirty fools they are.

    February 23, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  4. Wes Schochet

    It’s a tragic story. It’s also sorely in need of a good writer or editor. How do glaring spelling and grammar mistakes make it onto CNN.com so often?

    February 23, 2009 at 7:26 am |
  5. Bandot

    I truly feel bad for the little girl it is a horrible accident. While I hope the lab owner does a long term in prison the solution to the drug problem is legalization. Which will never happen as the Police make so much money from the Search and Seizure laws. I think local ppolice get 80% and Federal get 20% of dealer assests.

    If drugs were leaglized it would stop illegal manufacture. The prohibition of alcohol did not work and niether does prohibition of Drugs. You want to stop violence, crime, reduce prison populations and stop under groundlabs? Legalize and tax it.

    February 23, 2009 at 1:43 am |
  6. Anissa

    We are talking about a little girl's life here and someone is commenting on the typos! Are you serious? Here's one for ya "who caresss." My thoughts and prayers are with the little girl. No amount of punishment is justice for this crime.

    February 23, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  7. Mike

    The little girl might not have had anything to eat, if her folks weren't cooking meth

    February 22, 2009 at 10:53 pm |
  8. SOUTHIE

    I am an recovering Alcoholic. I have abused drugs. And I thought then I'd never touch nothing I believed I couldn't "Handle". Meth is one thing I steered clear of–as well as a host of other Psycho-inducing drugs. Even after 20 years of being "Clear" I purposefully have to avoid the whole thing, but I have kept up with developments in the Drug Culture. And all I've seen & heard Meth is Badd (Capitol B, double D!). Too many kids tripping on their egos. Been told they're the greatest and they can handle anything or as Anna Marie says, they been told not to do it and they'll take it as a challenge. Maybe too they trying to impress their peer group....They need a change of scene and fine tune their thought processes or they going down. The Hard Way. And who else they be taking with them?
    I won't even smoke weed now 'cause way back when they started adding other things to it to get a Higher High. Some of the Crap that was used messed me up- Bad... So legalization as a lot of people yearn for just ain't going to repectably happen. Folks just can't let a good thing be. I can't drink even a single beer with a friend; take communion (and that is a bad thing when it touches your religion...
    My prayers are with this 11 year old and her Family.

    As well as anyone else who decides to tinker with the dark side...

    February 22, 2009 at 9:33 pm |
  9. smartassteenager

    i cant believe some of the comments left on here! racism?? World WarII?? this is supposed to be about the little 11 year-old girl who now has to live with a feeding tube through her!! ya i agree that her parents shouldnt have had her daughter around that kind of enviroment. .where were her parents or any other family?? that poor little girl will have to grow up thinking that nobody protected her. i will keep her in my prayers.......

    February 22, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  10. sqrllgrl

    No one in Alabama wants a "soda pop"... that term is not used in the South.

    How on earth can anyone not have sympathy for the child in this situation?? She is the innocent one who is suffering.

    February 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  11. Bob

    If the government would stop spending money on marijuana, they would be able to direct all of their resources toward the bad drugs

    February 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm |
  12. the shadow

    Folks – for the third time, it's Drug Enforcement Administration, not Drug Enforcement Agency. Please post this comment.

    February 22, 2009 at 8:00 pm |
  13. Pam

    Why does CNN allow comments from hackneyed writers who are not even on point and infused with unjustified vitriol? Perhaps some comment moderation would be a good idea...

    February 22, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  14. enrique

    my prayers goes to the poor girl wish her best recovery yes the 42 year old cousin did not mean to hurt her but look what meth is doing
    it is destroying familes communities etc
    meth is far worst than crack cocaine weed ecstacy all put together
    STAY AWAY FROM THAT TOXIC GARBAGE it is the devil's drug !
    SAY NO TO ALL DRUGS ESPECIALLY METH !
    is there anyhting we the public and law enforcement can do to STOP THIS ????

    February 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  15. Joe

    If drugs were legal no one would have to make in their barn. No Profit, no problem.

    February 22, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  16. angie

    It is absolutely the parents who are to blame!! There is no way that they didn't know of the meth lab. These people can't hardly function let alone hide a meth lab!! The parents are probably on meth too. Sad, sad. If you want to ruin your own life then so be it. You do not have the right to ruin a minor childs life!! She should never have been put in this situation at all. The really sad part, if this did not happen to the girl, what would her life have ended up like? She probably would have been an addict anyway. Or hurt eventually by a drug deal gone bad, a shoot out with the police etc.

    February 22, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  17. Kathleen

    Lee Williams- I believe you mis-read the statement

    February 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  18. MishMish

    Why does cnn.com have so many typos? What a shame.

    February 22, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  19. Kevin

    The facts are: selfish desires, disrespect for God and family and a complete lack of brain cells have caused this accident. If half of these drug head idiots put forth a part of the energy they use in concealing, manufacturing and distributing their crap, they would probably make a better living for themselves doing something respectable. My family has been touched by drug use, almost lost a daughter to the crap. Trust in God, put forth some effort, become someone who is seeked by your family and friends for something other than a hookup.

    February 22, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  20. John boy

    I think there should be no trial for this man. He should be shot as soon as possible.
    If the US was really wanting to stop the drug problem they should listen to other countries.
    Have no mercy when someone is caught with them, this would stop the killing and stealing of others.

    February 22, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  21. Dana Gober

    Lee Williams is so right and it's not just news. I read every night and the books I'm reading now are full of typos. These books come from the best houses and there was one I just could not read because it because there were 6 errors before page 33.

    And these authors always say they have the best editors...

    February 22, 2009 at 8:30 am |
  22. Dana Gober

    Lee Williams is so right and it's not just news. I read every night and the books I'm reading now are full of typos. These books come from the best houses and there was one I just could not read because it because there were 6 errors before page 33.

    February 22, 2009 at 8:30 am |
  23. W.J. Lewis

    This IS a sad story. The thing is, addiction is such an enormous problem...EVERYWHERE and you'll always be able to read articles about how the law enforcement angencies want this problem to go away and how they swear they'll not rest until every drug manufacturer and dealer is off the streets and out of commision but the truth is this. There's BIG money in drugs and in the treatment of addiction. Even "Drug/Addiction Treatment" is a multi-billion dollar industry and who benefits from this? I'll tell you who; from the puny local law enforcement angencies right up to the government! As much as we would like to see the entire problem with drug manufacturing and sales, disappear, it is a money making entity that will be a part of humanity for the duration of our existence on earth. There's just too much money at stake. It's just very upsetting that this little girl's life will be forever altered, not only physically but mentally and emotionally for the rest of her life..."if she lives." Not just this poor little victim...millions and millions of innocent victims are in the path of the drug industry's destruction. If the goverment wanted to get rid of the drug problem, they would and I believe they could, But then they'd have to be broke like the rest of us and have to learn how to live without having their pockets get FAT! DAMN IT!

    February 22, 2009 at 8:05 am |
  24. sergio

    It is terrible that drugs have taken such a hold of this country. Children aren't even safe while out playing now because of idiots like this who don't think about the lives affected until it's someone close and dear to them. My ex-wife was addicted to meth (hopefully not anymore) and was awarded custody of our 5 year old daughter by the state of California, and everyday I worry that something like this could happen to my daughter. I agree that tougher laws need to be set for these loser dealers. And with a new baby on the way for me, a dealer that inadvertently was the cause of something like this happening to my child would be lucky to get sent to prison for life before I got ahold of him/her. My prayers are with this little girl and her family.

    February 22, 2009 at 6:58 am |
  25. C Keller

    Who is to blame here? The little girl innocently drank from a bottle she thought to be Sprite, and thus harmless. The uncle mindlessly put a dangerous acid in a soda bottle. We were all taught in school to make sure a bottle was labeled for what was actually in it. So the uncle is to blame for being negligent.

    The deeper issue is the drug problem. He was supplying it to users. If it weren't for them, he might not have manufactured it, and she might not need to be fed through a IV for the rest of her life if she lives.

    February 22, 2009 at 4:00 am |
  26. Mississippi

    First off it was a cousin who was living behind the family home in a camper trailer. Secondly, he has turned himself into authorities and was very upset when he found out what had happened.

    As a firefighter/EMT one of the scariest things to me is coming up on a accident scene that might be a rolling meth lab or entering a house fire where a meth lab maybe operating. Just a few weeks ago we walked into a old shotgun style house that was full of smoke. I was first on scene and made entry into the residence. In the first room was a hotplate sitting on a table in the middle of the room. To say my heart skipped a beat is an understatement. The whole house was piled ceiling high with crap. Luckily for us it was not a meth lab but it made me realize just how dangerous it is going into the unknown. Fire is predictable, meth labs are not.

    My heart felt prayers to this young lady and her family that is caring for her. If you want more info on her you can go to http://www.wkrg.com, this is the local news station for Mobile Alabama near where this happened.

    February 22, 2009 at 2:46 am |
  27. Michael

    Um, what? All drugs were made by the government?

    Ecstasy was created by a chemist in California(Alexander Shulgin). Cocaine comes from a plant that grows in South America (crack). LSD was invented by Albert Hoffman in Switzerland. Most hallucinogenic drugs occur naturally in plants. Quit drinking the kool aid and do some research before you made absurd claims.

    February 22, 2009 at 2:35 am |
  28. Mark

    most meth comes from small town america where most times the cops not only know whats going on but profit from it as well.

    February 22, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  29. LOL@U

    I think that it is funny really, and a good thing small price to pay too shut down a couple of meth labs. this girl was doomed anyways hanging out at a meth lab i mean come on like she had a chance anyways

    February 22, 2009 at 1:18 am |
  30. brandon scott

    i dont know what rednecks have to do with any of this....i am offended you prejiduce person you dang this is why society is stuck where it is at because people like you are creating racial walls........

    February 22, 2009 at 12:41 am |
  31. bluejeangirl

    How can ANYONE BLAMEthe 11 yr old girl? Why should there be a METH LAB in her backyard anyway. I suppose she has to ask he MOM if the milk container and cookie jar is REALLY milk and cookies too?? NO that is absurd..
    She shouldn'thave to ask if teh sprite bottle is safe, it SHOULD BE Sprite, NOT ACID.
    It is a parent and a guardian ( the uncle) who is watching her to make sure she is safe in their presence.
    How can these ppl endanger these children??
    I cannot imagine the pain and suffering that child must have had to endure and perhaps even neglect-if her parents are involved in drug related activities.
    I guess we ALL have to assume that a garage, shed, or whatever on someoen property is a meth lab now too... shame our police and some neighbors dont make a anonymous phone call once and while..maybe u will save a child... plus those places can go BOOM@!! u might even save your neighborhood.
    Most of the Rx meds are still sold since ppl since need them-sudafed.
    But you cannot purchase in large quanities. Shame we have t worry about stuff like this... My freedomof walking into a drug store like CVS and buying some sudafed really quick now becmes a long process... due to these idiots.

    February 22, 2009 at 12:26 am |
  32. Ryan

    The world would be a better place if we just shot people like this idiot. Not saying this should NECESSARILY be a law, just...food for thought.

    February 22, 2009 at 12:19 am |
  33. Michael in Little Rock

    Wow, there are some shockingly ignorant and misinformed comments on here. It shouldn't still shock me that my fellow citizens are wallowing in their own ignorance like swine in filth, but it somehow still manages to.

    You people need to understand that this problem would not exist WITHOUT the War on (Some) Drugs. Without the black market that the Wo(S)D creates, you wouldn't have nearly as many hillbillies making this toxic garbage out of their trailers. Just look to the abolition of Prohibition in 1933 and the effect that had on the gangsters who were running bootleg liquor: it basically annihilated them. Sure, there were still gangsters out there (and there always will be), but they weren't making their money by running bootleg liquor. That part of their business was done. Kaput. Finished. Over.

    If you want to destroy the black market for drugs and the crime and tragic accidents that come with it - like what happened to the poor kid in this story - then support the cessation of the senseless War on (Some) Drugs. It really is that simple, people.

    And that's only the crime aspect of why this senseless "war" should be ended. There are many, many other good reasons, but this isn't the time for them.

    February 22, 2009 at 12:00 am |
  34. Deborah

    Ok, Meh82 you say that if drugs were legal this would not have happened...I beg to differ. Oh, yes it most definitely could and more than likely would. And would you really want this horrific drug legalized and unleashed on the American public?

    February 21, 2009 at 11:52 pm |
  35. smiley

    It is really sickening how low and stupid with no regard to people around then encluding the children which are the ones that suffer the most would become so involved and the destruction to the family and the inviroment.

    February 21, 2009 at 11:20 pm |
  36. byggyns

    For you people trying to blame meth on the US govenment, perhaps you should read something about it first. This is from WIkipedia:

    History
    Methamphetamine was first synthesized from ephedrine in Japan in 1894 by chemist Nagayoshi Nagai.[4] In 1919, crystallized methamphetamine was synthesized by Akira Ogata via reduction of ephedrine using red phosphorus and iodine.

    World War II
    One of the earliest uses of methamphetamine was during World War II when the German military dispensed it under the trade name Pervitin.[5] It was widely distributed across rank and division, from elite forces to tank crews and aircraft personnel. Chocolates dosed with methamphetamine were known as Fliegerschokolade ("flyer's chocolate") when given to pilots, or Panzerschokolade ("tanker's chocolate") when given to tank crews. From 1942 until his death in 1945, Adolf Hitler may have been given intravenous injections of methamphetamine by his personal physician Theodor Morell as a treatment for depression and fatigue. It is possible that it was used to treat Hitler's speculated Parkinson's disease, or that his Parkinson-like symptoms which developed from 1940 onwards were related to use of methamphetamine.[6]

    February 21, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  37. x

    Hey, people, we're talking about trailer trash here; what the heck do you expect? Nobody should be surprised for there are far too many troglodytes in our midst these days. The state should be allowed to legally operate a firing squad. That would get rid of the vermin.

    February 21, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  38. Bev

    I sometimes wonder if I should go back to work...not for money, but as a volunteer. I am over 65 and retired. Children in sad situations is nothing new.

    February 21, 2009 at 9:04 pm |
  39. Bev

    Heaven help us all. I am a retired special ed teacher and grandmother of 5. What has happened to our country? Believe me, I will stay on top of mine! I am not naive, but I believe in love and prayer, which surround mine day and night! Let's all pull together, whatever that means. Love them, take care of them, help them. Family is the name of the game, and, hopefully, there will be something left over for others. Others, Lord, yes others. For such a prosperous country, we HURT REALLY BADLY! Where can we help one another?

    February 21, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  40. Brandi - bottom of the boot

    seriously??? an article about a young girl clinging to life and 'if' she survives will never be able to taste food or drink again and someone wants to cretique for TYPOS?!?!?!

    what is this world coming to that people are so desensitized to the story being read and pay more attention to typos?

    February 21, 2009 at 8:42 pm |
  41. Kelly

    :,(

    February 21, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  42. cj

    If marijuana were legally available, would this guy be making toxic meth in his trailer?

    Would people still take this toxic cocktail that causes permanent brain damage and psychosis, rotten teeth, etc. etc. if they could have access to natural herb?

    Just sayin...

    February 21, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
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