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9 year old dies forced to run for 3 hrs after eating a candy bar

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  • This undated photo released by the Etowah County Sheriff's Dept. Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 shows 9-year-old Savannah Hardin. Authorities say they've charged a grandmother and stepmother of the girl, who died after being forced to run as punishment. Etowah County sheriff's officials say 46-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard of Carlisle and 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin are accused of murder in the death of Savannah Hardin. Investigators say Garrard allegedly made the girl run without stopping for there hours as punishment for lying to her. (AP Photo/Etowah County Sheriffs Office)Enlarge Photo

    This undated photo released by the Etowah County Sheriff's Dept. Wednesday, Feb. ...

  • This combo made from photos released by the Etowah County Sheriff's Dept. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 shows Joyce Hardin Garrard, 46, left, and Jessica Mae Hardin, 27. Garrard and Hardin, grandmother and stepmother of a 9-year-old Alabama girl who died after witnesses said she was forced to run for three hours as punishment for lying, have been charged with murder and are being held in jail. (AP Photo/Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Enlarge Photo

    This combo made from photos released by the Etowah County Sheriff's Dept. on Wednesday, ...

  • This photo released by the Etowah County Sheriff's Dept. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 shows Jessica Mae Hardin, 27. Hardin and 46-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard, stepmother and grandmother of a 9-year-old Alabama girl who died after witnesses said she was forced to run for three hours as punishment for lying, have been charged with murder and are being held in jail. (AP Photo/Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Enlarge Photo

    This photo released by the Etowah County Sheriff's Dept. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 ...

  • This photo released by the Etowah County Sheriff's Dept. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 shows Joyce Hardin Garrard, 46. Garrard and 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin, grandmother and stepmother of a 9-year-old Alabama girl who died after witnesses said she was forced to run for three hours as punishment for lying, have been charged with murder and are being held in jail. (AP Photo/Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Enlarge Photo

    This photo released by the Etowah County Sheriff's Dept. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 ...

ATTALLA, Ala. (AP) - Roger Simpson said he looked down the road and saw a little girl running outside her home but didn't give it another thought. Police, however, said the man witnessed a murder in progress.

Authorities say 9-year-old Savannah Hardin died after being forced to run for three hours as punishment for having lied to her grandmother about eating candy bars. Severely dehydrated, the girl had a seizure and died days later. Now, her grandmother and stepmother who police say meted out the punishment were taken to jail Wednesday and face murder charges.

Witnesses told deputies Savannah was told to run and not allowed to stop for three hours on Friday, an Etowah County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said. The girl's stepmother, 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin, called police at 6:45 p.m., telling them Savannah was having a seizure and was unresponsive.

Simpson said he saw a little girl running at around 4 p.m., but didn't see anybody chasing or coercing her.

"I saw her running down there, that's what I told the detectives," Simpson said from his home on a hill overlooking the Hardins. "But I don't see how that would kill her."

Authorities are still trying to determine whether Savannah was forced to run by physical coercion or by verbal commands. Deputies were told the girl was made to run after lying to her grandmother, 46-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard, about having eaten the candy, sheriff's office spokeswoman Natalie Barton said.

Savannah Hardin died Monday at Children's Hospital in Birmingham, according to a news release from the sheriff's office. The sheriff's release said an autopsy report showed the girl was extremely dehydrated and had a very low sodium level. A state pathologist ruled it a homicide.

The sheriff's office received calls from concerned citizens who witnessed the girl running. No other details were released, but an official with the local volunteer fire department said rescuers thought something seemed odd when they responded to a call about the child.

"One of the ones who were down there said he didn't feel like everything was right," said Ruby Ward, vice president of the Mountainboro Volunteer Fire Department.

Gail Denny and her husband Phil, live just up a dirt road from the home. They've known the family since they moved to the area in northeastern Alabama seven years ago.

The couple said they were used to seeing Savannah and other neighborhood children out waiting on the school bus in the morning. Gail Denny said her grandson had a crush on Savannah.

"My grandson asked her to be his girlfriend on Valentine's Day, and she said 'yes,'" she said before dissolving into tears. She left a candle and stuffed animal outside the girl's home Wednesday night, saying a prayer as she paused beside the road.

The trailer where Savannah lived was surrounded by a wooden fence, playground equipment and toys. Neighbors say they never saw children playing in the yard.

They told The Associated Press that Garrard owned a lot of property along the road and much of her family lived in homes on that property.

"It seems like a very happy extended family around here," Denny said. "There are mothers, grandmothers, kids. It sounds like a punishment that got out of hand."

Garrard and Jessica Mae Hardin are being held in the Etowah County Detention Center, each on a $500,000 cash bond.

Court records show that Robert Hardin filed for divorce in August of 2010. In his complaint, he asserted his wife was bi-polar and had alcoholic tendencies. He accused her previously of having run off with the couple's own child. In her response, Jessica denied all of Robert's allegations.

Five months after filing for divorce, the two asked a judge to dismiss their case.

Savannah Hardin was a third-grader at Carlisle Elementary School. Superintendent Alan Cosby said her desk had been turned into a makeshift memorial where her classmates could leave notes and mementos. He said counselors and social workers were made available for students.

"This is obviously a very tragic, devastating, heartbreaking situation," Cosby said. "Nothing like this has ever happened before."

by on Feb. 23, 2012 at 9:21 AM
Replies (31-40):
sherry132
by Sherry on Feb. 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Oh I understand. It's just the news seems to make a case out of nothing or leaves details out on a regular basis. It just seems odd that the child died of running when she was otherwise normal and healthy. They had to of done more. I imagine those two are monsters. 

Quoting autumearth:

 

Quoting sherry132:

I'm with you. There has to be more. My son would run for hours at a time when he was 9, not even by force. Something more has to justify murder. It's sad either way.

Quoting princessputter:

Ok I have got to say there has to be more to this story... how do we know she ran the full three hours.... why was she so dehydrated.... I dont see this happening with a healthy 9 yr old.. so maybe an underlying condition.. or... these monsters did something else to her we are not yet aware of.... my heart is sad for this little girl


 So far this is all the information I could find.


Mommyto2LilMen
by Bronze Member on Feb. 23, 2012 at 9:57 AM
Wow, that is awful!
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
slinkerpon11
by on Feb. 23, 2012 at 9:59 AM
5 moms liked this
Quoting princessputter:

Ok I have got to say there has to be more to this story... how do we know she ran the full three hours.... why was she so dehydrated.... I dont see this happening with a healthy 9 yr old.. so maybe an underlying condition.. or... these monsters did something else to her we are not yet aware of.... my heart is sad for this little girl




you have to train to be able to run that long. If she wasn't hydrated before she started running she could easily become so dehydrated that when she came back in the house she was sick. they might have given her water and her thrown it back up. This could have gone on until her seizure. She should have been brought to the hospital after the run to be properly hydrated. Once you get so low on fluids it is really hard to rehydrate. And none of them look like they led a really healthy life style to be physically prepared to run like this. at a light jog she could easily run 2 miles an hour. No nine year old should run 3 miles, let alone 6.
iluvmypreemies
by on Feb. 23, 2012 at 9:59 AM
So sad. :(
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Dimples04
by Gold Member on Feb. 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM
2 moms liked this
Stupid ass people need the same thing done to them.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Mommyx333
by on Feb. 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM


Quoting abifasc:

So sad. I don't understand how someone can do that to a child!


JustCJ
by Charlotte on Feb. 23, 2012 at 10:02 AM
1 mom liked this

I just don't get people. I hope they get better than the maximum for this. RIP poor sweet girl. 

MommaMonkey84
by on Feb. 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM
1 mom liked this
Poor little girl! :( I hope these monsters rot in jail! No child should have to endure that type of a punishment especially over a d*** candy bar!
TexasWife
by on Feb. 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM
Poor baby.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
autumearth
by Bronze Member on Feb. 23, 2012 at 10:04 AM
2 moms liked this

 There had to be something different going on. How can anyone be so stupid as to force a child to do something that they themselve can't physically do? I can't wait to see what happens to them in jail/prison. We should take bets on if they will survive.

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