GADSDEN, Ala. – “At the end of a dirt road leading to a double-wide trailer in rural Alabama, authorities say 9-year-old Savannah Hardin was being 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 died days later, her death 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.
“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.
“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.”
No Denny, it sounds like sadism to me. I’ll bet the grandmother and step-mother took pleasure in watching Savannah experiencing pain and humiliation, and I am certain it was not the first time. I also think Savannah’s father knew damn well he left his daughter with two dangerous women. It is being reported that the grandmother was the mother of Savannah’s father. How can anyone think he was not aware his mother was capable of abuse –that is, unless he has mentally blocked anything she did to him as a child.
“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 of 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.” ~Fox News
CNN’s Nancy Grace is reporting that Savannah had a “bladder condition” that might be aggravated by a chocolate candy bar. Or, even more likely, Savannah’s “condition” was bed-wetting due to prolonged child abuse.
However, it is possible that, because of a bladder condition, Savannah sometimes wet the bed. Grace reminded her viewers how many parents with no patience, punish their children for wetting the bed.
I have been told by my family, that I wet the bed until I was nine years-old. I have no memory of doing this. I do have one memory of having to carry a plastic sheet in shame, to a friend’s sleep over, after my mother made a phone call to alert the friend’s mother of ‘my little problem.’
After a few years in therapy, I did finally recall my mother’s anger and resentment for having to change my urine-soaked sheets. After the previously repressed memory surfaced, I wondered how many times those sheets had semen on them.
There is a link to child abuse and bed-wetting, and I also wonder how long Savannah’s step-mother and grandmother had been abusing her before they finally killed her.
Savannah’s stepmother has given birth to a child in jail. The baby was born on the day she was arrested for the murder of Savannah. No report yet on the sex of the child. Jessica also has a 3 year-old son with Savannah’s father.
According to CNN, Savannah’s birth mother is living in another state, and has no custody rights, and has not been very involved in Savannah’s upbringing.