Nine Year Old Girl Dies After Being Forced To Run For Three Hours

Savannah Hardin, Jessica Mae Hardin and Joyce Hardin Garrard

Savannah Hardin, Jessica Mae Hardin and Joyce Hardin Garrard

Roger Simpson said he saw a little girl running outside her home but didn’t give it another thought. Police say he witnessed a murder in progress.
Authorities say 9-year-old Savannah Hardin died after being forced to run for three hours as punishment for lying to her grandmother about eating candy bars. Severely dehydrated, the girl had a seizure and died days later. Now, her grandmother and stepmother face murder charges.
Witnesses told deputies Savannah was told to run and not allowed to stop for three hours on Friday, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman in Etowah County, Alabama, US, said. The girl’s stepmother, 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin, called police that evening, telling them Savannah was having a seizure and was unresponsive.
Simpson said he saw a little girl running but didn’t see anybody chasing or coercing her.
“I saw her running down there, that’s what I told the detectives,” Simpson said. “But I don’t see how that would kill her.”
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, 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.
Garrard and Jessica Mae Hardin are being held on a $500,000 cash bond for each.
School Superintendent Alan Cosby said Savannah Hardin’s desk had been turned into a makeshift memorial where her classmates could leave notes and mementos.
“This is obviously a very tragic, devastating, heartbreaking situation,” Cosby said. “Nothing like this has ever happened before.”



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