Criminal Justice

Grandma, Stepmom Face Murder Case in Death of Girl, 9, Who Ran for Hours as Punishment, Sheriff Says

Much like a marathon runner, who can face a life-threatening situation if dehydrated, a 9-year-old Alabama girl died Monday.

Savannah Hardin suffered a seizure Friday after running outside her home near Mountainboro for three hours as punishment for lying about eating candy, authorities said.

Her death was ruled a homicide, and her grandmother and stepmother have been charged with murder, the Gadsden Times reports.

Joyce Hardin Garrard, 46, and Jessica Mae Hardin, 27, could potentially be charged with upgraded charges of capital murder, depending on the results of an ongoing investigation, said Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp. Each is being held at the county jail in lieu of a $500,000 cash bond.

Sheriff Todd Entrekin said yesterday during a news conference that Savannah apparently was punished by her grandmother for lying about eating candy bars she had been given by someone on the school bus by being forced to run for three hours. Her stepmother called 911 about 6:45 p.m. after she began having seizures.

The Associated Press and WBRC also have stories.

Last updated at 3:32 to include child’s name.

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