Savannah Hardin passed away Monday from a seizure, dehydration, and low sodium level.
Savannah Hardin, age 9, suffered the seizure and dehydration due to a punishment served to her by her grandmother and stepmother.
It is alleged that Savannah Hardin was “run to death” for eating candy and lying about it to her grandmother. She was in the care of her grandmother, Joyce Garrard, and stepmother, Jessica Hardin, who were taken into custody Wednesday and charged with murder.
Savannah Hardin was forced to run for three hours around the family home before she collapsed and began to have seizures on Friday. She died in a Birmingham, Ala. hospital on Monday. A preliminary autopsy showed that Savannah Hardin died of dehydration and low sodium levels.
Savannah Hardin allegedly had a bladder disorder that restricted her from eating chocolate due to the caffeine levels, but there are no signs that this played a role in her death.
Savannah’s stepmother, Jessica Hardin, called police at 6:45 p.m., telling them that Savannah Hardin was having a seizure and was unresponsive.
Authorities are still trying to determine whether Savannah Hardin was forced to run by physical coercion or by verbal commands.
Court records reportedly show that Robert Hardin filed for divorce in August 2010, complaining that his wife was bi-polar and had alcoholic tendencies, but after five months the couple asked the judge to dismiss their case. Jessica Hardin had denied all of her husband’s allegations made in the original complaint.
Savannah Hardin was in third grade at Carlisle Elementary School.
Jessica Hardin was pregnant at the time of her arrest, and gave birth within hours of being taken into custody. Jessica and Robert Hardin also have a 3-year-old son together.
Robert Hardin was overseas when Savannah Hardin was hospitalized. He is a contractor with the U.S. State Department, and had to take eight flights to return to Alabama. Robert Hardin made the decision to pull his daughter off life support.
Bond for Garrard and Jessica Hardin is set at $500,000 each.