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9-year-old girl dies when forced to run for three hours as punishment
Tags:  alabama, death, divorce, girlfriend, neighbors, police, school, toys, trailer Tags
dharocks is online now Old 02-24-2012, 12:10 AM   #1
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ATTALLA, Ala. (AP) – At a doublewide trailer along a dirt road in rural Alabama, authorities say 9-year-old Savannah Hardin was forced to run for three hours as punishment for having lied to her grandmother about eating candy bars. The severely dehydrated girl had a seizure and her death days later was ruled a homicide.

Her grandmother and stepmother who police say meted out the punishment are in jail, facing murder charges Wednesday.

Witnesses told deputies that 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 that Savannah was having a seizure and was unresponsive.

Neighbor Roger 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 forced 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 says the 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 had witnessed the running. No other details were released.

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 Denny's say they were used to seeing Savannah and other neighborhood children out waiting on the school bus in the morning. Gayle said her grandson had a crush on Savannah.

"My grandson asked her to be his girlfriend on Valentine's Day, and she said 'yes,'" Gail said before dissolving into tears.

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. Her father, Robert Hardin, was filing for divorce, but neighbors said they saw him there with the kids at times.

They tell 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 of previously 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."
I think the murder charges are appropriate. You force a 9-year-old girl to run for three hours without rest or hydration, what do you think is going to happen?

I'll be interested to see how the board's corporal punishment advocates feel about this. I remember some interesting responses in the thread about the judge who beat his mentally handicapped daughter.

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Warning-Sign is offline Old 02-24-2012, 12:16 AM   #2
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"My grandson asked her to be his girlfriend on Valentine's Day, and she said 'yes,'" Gail said before dissolving into tears.

This part really made me feel sad, aside from her death.
 
dmc89 is offline Old 02-24-2012, 02:29 AM   #3
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I think this is fitting punishment for both women. A 19th century tread wheel.

 
percicles is offline Old 02-24-2012, 02:42 AM   #4
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Is Alabama the new Florida?
 
Zboy is offline Old 02-24-2012, 02:42 AM   #5
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This punishment will not work in Kenya.

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Mr. Brightside is offline Old 02-24-2012, 02:48 AM   #6
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BetterThanEver is offline Old 02-24-2012, 05:49 AM   #7
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Every year, there is a headline about high school football players who die from dehydration.

The step-mom to pull this on an 8 year old can be no accident. It's cruel.

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ItsMyFault is offline Old 02-24-2012, 06:14 AM   #8
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Give the grandmother and step mother the death penalty.

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Lil Pun is offline Old 02-24-2012, 06:33 AM   #9
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****ing grown ups.

I agree with IMF above.

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rhadamanthus is offline Old 02-24-2012, 08:48 AM   #10
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I wish I had not read this.

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VanityHalfBlack is offline Old 02-24-2012, 09:17 AM   #11
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That is just horrible...
 
Joshfast is online now Old 02-24-2012, 09:24 AM   #12
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And the two torturers are fatties.

Earth is a messed up place.

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Surfguy is offline Old 02-24-2012, 09:37 AM   #13
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Some people are too stupid to understand how making someone run for three hours without hydrating can kill a person. I think that probably applies here. Throw the book at them. Screw them.
 
Xerobull is offline Old 02-24-2012, 09:39 AM   #14
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I stopped reading at 'Ala'. Lock 'em up.

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Bear_Bryant is offline Old 02-24-2012, 10:16 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Xerobull View Post
I stopped reading at 'Ala'. Lock 'em up.
.....

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rolyat93 is offline Old 02-24-2012, 10:23 AM   #16
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Sounds like she....

ran out of time.

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CCorn is offline Old 02-24-2012, 10:27 AM   #17
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Story taught me a lot, I'm never running again.

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Cannonball is offline Old 02-24-2012, 10:37 AM   #18
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Alabama, trailer park, grandma at age 37, giving idiot punishment for minor bad behavior. White trash stereotypes galore.
 
Jugdish is offline Old 02-24-2012, 10:38 AM   #19
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9-year-old girl
27-year-old mother
46-year-old grandmother

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Cowboy_Bebop is offline Old 02-24-2012, 11:59 AM   #20
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Read that a couple of days ago on the front page of my news site but I wonder why it was gone like hours later. People like this don't deserve to have kids. The wicked stepmother and grandmother need to be punished severely.
 

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