- (Photo: Twitter/ShannonAla13)
Family, friends, and even strangers are mourning the death of 9-year-old Savannah Hardin, who died yesterday as a result of brutal punishment. Savannah was forced to run for three hours for apparently lying to her stepmother, Jessica about eating a candy bar.
Jessica and her mother Joyce Garrad have been charged with murder and are still behind bars, pending $50,000 bail. The district attorney for the case has said he is unaware of any lawyers for the pair and may seek capital murder charges, which carry a possible death sentence.
One relative who chose to remain anonymous told Fox6, "We are disgusted and ashamed by the events that have taken place. We do not and did not agree with the way Savannah was punished. Joyce did love her but she took the punishment to the extreme. I myself am just outraged by all that has taken place. There is no excuse for what she has done."
Reports by the coroner show that Savannah became dehydrated and began having seizures before Jessica called 911.
Paramedics arrived and took the girl to Children's Hospital in Birmingham, where she was put on life support until her father, Robert, could arrive. He made the decision to remove all support, and the young girl died.
Donna Johnson, principal of the school Savannah, offered this statement: "Savannah was an excellent student who loved to read. She wanted to say kind things to everyone who was around her. Savannah was always a happy child at school. She always wore a smile and often brightened a day of teachers and administrators with her kind comments."
Counselors have been brought in and are available for classmates, though they have made their own makeshift memorial to remember Savannah.
Reporter Jonathan Hardison described the scene: "The impromptu memorial outside Savannah Hardin's house has grown to include a teddy bear and several candles. Her desk at Carlisle Elementary School has been placed just outside the school's front doors and some of her work, her school supplies box, and other materials are laid out on top."
People across the nation have expressed their outrage at this "horrifying story."
Brandy Arnold tweeted, "Seriously what is wrong w/ people!"
Jamie Muskopf noted, "This is just so wrong. 9 year old run to death? So very, very tragic."
Plans for a formal memorial have not been released yet.