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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. trina

    the little girl shouldn't have drank out of the bottle.and you say the parents are to blame.are you kidding me.but it is ok,to have 4 meth labs.didn't his parents teach him right from wrong.especially having it around children. she is 11, how old is he.commit to george jackson.

    February 20, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  2. lena johnson

    you know the way i see it is that we all continue to PRAY for the famiily and that justice be served and that the baby has a full and blessed recovery

    February 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  3. Meh82

    If Drugs were legal this would have never happend...

    February 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  4. LMG

    What a bunch of girlie men!

    There has never been a real "war on drugs" in this Country. To many highly placed individuals are making huge amounts of money from the drug trade so don't expect unknowing, unthinking, unconcerned, unethical and crooked politicians to do anything about it. Just look at the economic stimulus package that just passed – not a single Congressman or Congresswoman read the bill before they passed it (it hadn't been printed yet nor had it been made available on the web or Internet). Congress is a joke!

    And, as long as United States citizens have an unsatiable appitite for drugs and are willing to inject, snort, smoke, or whatever any drug possible, the rest of the world will be more than happy to supply it. We here in the United States are at fault. Blame the rest of the world if you will but it's our own greed and our own lack of self-discipline and initiative that has caused this problem, not anyone or anything else.

    February 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  5. Jenasis

    Dang "rednecks"! He ought to be charged with attempted murder!!! Needs to be put away for life!!!

    February 20, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  6. KC

    Why was this girl at her 42-year-old cousin's house in the first place? How could her parents not have known what was going on? If the girl dies, her cousin should go down for murder as well. However, even if she lives, who would want to spend their life with a feeding tube?!? She's eleven, would she even see the point in living anymore?

    February 20, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  7. Tom

    next door neighbor is a meth head and a dealer we believe cooks as well.....wish the Buena Park Police(Orange County California) would do something but do not.....guess it takes a trajedy like this to get action?
    Maybe the DEA should come to Buena Park as it is rampant there now and for some time

    February 20, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  8. f h s

    This man is disgusting. To run away from your mistake of nearly killing your own 11 year old cousin is just shame ful. LOCK HIM UP

    February 20, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  9. MsRed

    The girls parents should be charged they aren't blind these people knew what he was doing.

    February 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  10. Neal

    Her parents are to blame for not teaching her to drink from a bottle of Sprite found at a relatives house?

    I'm all for parental responsability, but I think that's a little silly.

    February 20, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  11. Are You Serious George Jackson???

    This is in now way the parents fault, George. She is an 11 year old girl. when she gets thristy she is going to drink. Would you expect acid to be in a sprite bottle? No. It is her uncle's fault.

    February 20, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  12. Julie

    I think anyone busted for making and / or distributing meth needs to be given a life sentence. The FIRST time! And I agree, we need to have Montana's ads about it done nation wide, and maybe even have the government give "finders fee's" to anyone who accurately reports where these labs are and who is running them. This needs to STOP!

    February 20, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  13. John

    And that monkey don't forget about the poor monkey. Why is PETA not in arms over all this...

    February 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  14. AzCity

    Try dodging these "tweakers" as they fly out of control down the road ways...horrible! All the adults who knew about this lab should be prosecuted...or given the same drink! They are of no use to anyone anymore anyway. so sad for the child...

    February 20, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  15. scdallas

    That poor little girl!

    Is someone taking up collections for her medical bills?

    February 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  16. Chase

    Curiosity killed the cat.

    February 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  17. Rudy

    Expect done to you, what you do unto others! Prison will be real fun for that guy...they don't take kindly to people harming child...even in prison. Have fun in there...where you belong.

    February 20, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  18. Chelsea T

    I believe the border comment was that the government needs to worry about what's going on in their own backyards.

    That poor little girl. I hope that if she survives she will be put with a family that will take care of her and not in an institution because of the feeding tube.

    February 20, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  19. Conspiracy

    The police even take drugs they have taken in raids, traffic stops, and where ever else they find it....and then turn around and sell it to some top dealer in their district. They can even give protection to the dealer to make sure they have money steadily coming in. Crooked law and government officials is the real reason drugs are still here. They wouldnt have all that money flowing in other wise and do you know how many people would loose their jobs if every drug was completely gone? Its a vicious cycle that is run by greed!

    February 20, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  20. Recovering Slowly but Surely

    As a 7 year recovering Meth addict, I am here to tell you that no amount of punishment is going to stop this. The only way to stop Meth is to educate people BEFORE they try it the first time. 80% of people that try Meth once get addicted to it. Only 6% of Meth addicts ever recover.

    February 20, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  21. Government Scam

    All drugs except Marajuana (because it is grown...natural) were made by the government. Hello Extacy was created by the gov. and prescribed by counselors....to help couples who were having troubles in their marriages. It was supposed to help ease tensions and help them be able to talk about issues that normaly would cause a fight and induce a better sex life. Or people who were depressed. So the government is the reason man made drugs exist...and they blame drug dealers for being able to make money off something they couldnt. How do you think most normal people know how to make extacy, meth, etc. Crack is easy to make but normal people dont sit around mixing cocain with baking soda and water and then know to whisk it till its hard. The Government makes them and puts it on the streets.

    February 20, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  22. Don Miguel

    In my country the Philippines, we've seen an alarmingly growing number of meth labs in the news being set up by chinese triads from mainland china and other mob members who are not even from the Philippines. they usually set them up in peaceful, exclusive residential neighborhoods and make so much money off the streets. It's killing the youth back home, it's poison. Their sales agents hawk the drugs off the streets, by word of mouth, they target potential victims, students and kids on the basketball get them hooked and make big fortunes off their steady clientele, whose lives they've ruined.

    I know this because once in a while, we see them in the news, drug busts and all, but how many more are not caught and are operating for years, spreading the poison - sigh

    February 20, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  23. jenny

    to ashamedofMO. When my husband and I considered moving to MO, one of the first things that popped into my head was meth users. I hate to say it, but a lot of these small to middle size cities are full of people who use meth. There is no way in hell that I would want to risk exposing my child to that kind of element. It's a shame is right, because there is a lot of beautiful places in MO. Too bad mindless druggies have to ruin it for everybody else.

    February 20, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  24. Mary

    The person(s) needs to spend the rest of his(their) life in prison or at least hold him(them) down and have him(them) drink acid too, for what he(they) has done.

    My heart goes out to this little girl. She will have to live with this for the rest of her life because some a-hole just wanted to get high! Words can't expess what this little girl has gone through and will continue to go through.

    Eye for an eye!!!!!

    Mesa, Az

    February 20, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  25. jenny

    It's unfortunate that there are some grown adults who care too much about their own selfish needs and not enough to protect the minors around them. If you are going to jeopardize your life by doing something so stupid as having anything to do with meth, then do it only if you have no children around or near you, period. Think of that innocent child first. If you can't, then either don't have any children, or give them up for adoption. I'm so sick of these irresponsible adults. I don't really care if they have a drug addiction; that is not the child's fault. And on another note, if your boyfriend cannot handle his temper, then either get hid of the loser, or give up custody of your child. There are plenty of responsible, loving adults who would love to give a child a loving, safe, home.

    February 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  26. Stuart

    What do corrupt Wall Street CEO's have to do with this tragedy? Or Mexican border fences? And WHOSREALLYTOBLAME, you're only partly right on who started it. It was WWII, but it was the German Army, Tank Corps and Luftwaffe. After the war, it became a popular street drug in Japan, and was prescribed in the US in the 50's for narcolepsy, Parkinson's, alcoholism, depression and obesity.

    In this case, nothing the courts can do will ever be enough for this little girl or her parents.

    February 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  27. ashamedofMO

    Nice to know I live and work in the Meth Capital of the US!

    February 20, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  28. steven scott`

    i think that the person(s) responsible for making this solution should go down for life! its a shame!

    February 20, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  29. Racheal

    It is a terrible thing that happened to that little girl. I do not believe our Government is to blame though.
    Yes, Meth was first made in WWII, but not by "our" Government. It was first introduced by Hitler. He gave it to his soldiers and also used it himself.

    February 20, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  30. George Jackson

    I feel sad for this girl and her family.

    I would think that you would teach your child especially a 11 year old child not to drink things that they find.

    In my opinion the childs parents are to blame also for not teaching their child better.

    February 20, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  31. Ian

    I'm not sure what the border fence has to do with this. The people in the story are not illegal immigrants and the meth problem did not come from anywhere other than the heartland of our own country.

    February 20, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  32. GF, Los Angeles

    I honestly don't feel bad for this kid. Where were her parents? They obviously know about the existence of this meth lab this girl was living in – heck they probably are a part of it too. Weeding out those that bring society down one at a time.

    February 20, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  33. Jill

    How unfortunate,
    As a mother of 3 children of all ages from HS age, middle schooler age & right down to daycare. I can't imagine the pain that her parents must feel.
    However, although the Uncle may be a drug dealer most likely for financial reasons, had endangered this child and should most definately pay for this, He is human. I'm most certainly not defending him. But being the Uncle of this child I'm sure he must be in agony.
    Hopefully this young girl in just the dawn of her life will recover.
    I will keep her in my prayers.

    February 20, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  34. Laura

    Hang him! Stop putting these kinds of people in jail, enough is enough! They don't learn from being locked up, and it just wastes more of our money.

    February 20, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  35. David

    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 20, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  36. Ulysicca

    It's so sad,but like if the family did not have any idea of what was going on there. WHERE WAS HER MOTHER? Remember cousin operating a “shake and bake” meth lab(WHAT ABOUT THE SMELL,MOST PEPOLE WOULD THINK) in a trailer on the family’s property. Wayne Thurman Tubbs, was running at least 6 meth labs. Tubbs is a wanted man. Alot of clue don"t you think!!! Who's more at falt? Tubbs/Dealer or Mother/who accepted it,and didn't care?

    February 20, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  37. Sharon S

    Sad Sad story children always seem to be the ones who pay for Adults greed!

    Yes you are absolutely correct it was our government that created this awful drug and yes that is exactly how it came into play now does anyone see our Government doing that much to really crack down on it?

    Maybe this horrific thing with this child will bring more to light and make our officials crack down harder on this sort of thing?

    People who make this stuff can kill themselves the labs can blow up and why does anyone want to do a drug that has acid or cleaning fluids in it?

    Drink some coffee and be happy! This country is a total mess!

    February 20, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  38. meenas17

    Soda costs her life.The reckless preparation of meth has endangered an innocent life. Why do people indulge in such nefarious activities?All for damn money.

    February 20, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  39. eduardi

    why would they just leave a bottle of toxins lying around they probobly knew that she woud drink out of the bottle i hope that they catch him and bring him to justice

    February 20, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  40. krtstal@bradleymichael.com

    let the uncle drink acid enough said

    February 20, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  41. chels

    that is so scary. aw the poor little girl and she's only 11. i hope she turns out ok. but thats a shame for something to happen like that and from your family member to put it in sprite that someone may drink. thats a shame.

    February 20, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  42. whosreallytoblame

    I find it highly ironic that we, the taxpayers, are footing the bill for something our own government started.

    Do any of you know how the whole meth thing got started?? Most people don't.

    The governent made meth!! During WWII it was made and given to pilots for long bombing runs. These pilots got addicted and guess what? Yep they got the info on how to make it and now we have this huge meth problem.

    Thanks to our wonderful government!!

    February 20, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  43. earle,florida

    ,....? and they are still fighting to stop the fences from going up on the mexican border,...?

    February 20, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  44. Stephanie

    You are so right. Greed is the primary reason we are as screwed up as we are. Our way of life has played out no different than in the centuries old days of "let them eat cake". No human is worth the salaries and bonuses of CEO's. They need to get over themselves, because we all sure did years ago.

    February 20, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  45. Pookie Montana

    All states should have a program like Montna for meth. It's called the Montana Meth Project. These graphic ads have made a huge difference in the children especially who would otherwise start on meth. They basically scare the hell out of anyone who sees them and they do work.

    February 20, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  46. Joanne Pacicca, Solvay, NY

    Even the tired, old mantra: "The War on Drugs" should be revived once again to address methyl amphetamine. Everyone's life has been touched by this tragedy to some extent. If the story of this little girl doesn't inspire you, wait....you will find some form of tragedy around you sooner .... or later.

    February 20, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  47. Lee Williams

    It is sad that cnn.com has so many 'typos' in its articles. While I used to be able to let my students read them for examples of how to write, I have a hard time reading them myself these days...

    From this article alone:
    "To give you an extend of this drug epidemic"

    February 20, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  48. Rick Eiffert

    Those top level managers of Meril Lynch and all other top level managers of banks that helped with the destruction of the US economy that got millions in bonuses over the last several years, (and are now recieving bailout money) should have a special retroactive tax of 90 to 95 % of their income from the last 4 or 5 years. I am a taxpayer and I am disqusted at the tolerance we show toward the greed that got us where we are now.

    February 20, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  49. Eric

    That poor little girl!

    Dealers, especially this one, need to have not just the law brought down on them, but they need tougher sentances! They endanger lives of others everyday, and like in this case innocents always get hurt in the end. People like this, need locked away and never let out! I hope they find that man, and I hope he finds his time in prsion to be an experience he'll never escape from.

    February 20, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  50. Becky

    My prayers are with the family of this little girl and the little girl. Such an unnecessary thing to happen. I hope the uncle is caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He couldn't have been a bigger idiot.

    February 20, 2009 at 9:58 am |
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