Stepmother, grandmother charged in Ala. girl’s death

GADSDEN, Ala. - The grandmother and stepmother of a 9-year-old Alabama girl who died after she was allegedly forced to run for three hours as punishment for lying have been charged with murder and are being held in jail.

Witnesses told police that Savannah Hardin was told to run and not allowed to stop for three hours last 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 authorities that Savannah was having a seizure and was unresponsive.


Savannah Hardin died Monday at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, according to the sheriff’s office.

Authorities said Jessica Mae Hardin and Savannah’s grandmother, 46-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard, were arrested after the death was ruled a homicide by a state pathologist.

The sheriff’s office said the autopsy report showed the girl was extremely dehydrated and had a very low sodium level.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of