Girl, 9, Dies After Forced 3-Hour Run

Savannah Hardin collapsed after extreme punishment
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2012 12:04 PM CST
Girl, 9, Dies After Forced 3-Hour Run
This photo released by the Etowah County Sheriff's Dept. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 shows Jessica Mae Hardin.   (AP Photo/Etowah County Sheriff's Office)

On Friday, Joyce Hardin Garrard found out her 9-year-old granddaughter Savannah Hardin had eaten a candy bar on the school bus, and allegedly punished her by making her run around the house, without stopping, for three hours. Savannah, who had a bladder condition that could have been aggravated by the candy, began having seizures and was rushed to the hospital, where she died Monday. Garrard and Savannah's stepmother, Jessica Mae Hardin, are charged with the girl's murder, MyFox Alabama reports.

Hardin was considered the girl's primary caregiver because Savannah's father was working overseas for the government at the time; Hardin was charged along with the grandmother for not halting the punishment. Savannah, who weighed just 65 pounds, was found to be severely dehydrated with low sodium levels. The third-grader "was caused to undergo physical exertion to the point in time where she just got dehydrated and her electrolyte levels got to the point where she couldn't survive life," the district attorney says. Hardin, 26, gave birth yesterday afternoon while sheriff's deputies guarded her. (Read more child abuse stories.)

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