Stepmother, grandmother charged with 9-year-old girl's murder - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Update: Stepmother charged with 9-year-old girl's murder gives birth

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Jessica Hardin and Joyce Garrard are charged with killing 9-year-old Savannah Hardin. Jessica Hardin and Joyce Garrard are charged with killing 9-year-old Savannah Hardin.
Savannah Hardin's yearbook photo. She was a 3rd grader at Carlisle Elementary School. Savannah Hardin's yearbook photo. She was a 3rd grader at Carlisle Elementary School.

ETOWAH COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - The stepmother charged with the murder of her nine-year-old stepdaughter in Etowah County has given birth in a Gadsden hospital while under the guard of sheriff's deputies Wednesday.

Investigators say 27-year-old Jessica Mae Hardin and 46-year-old Joyce Hardin Garrard, both of Attalla, are responsible for 9-year-old Savannah Hardin's death. Etowah County Sheriff's investigators say the girl got some chocolate on the school bus she wasn't supposed to have Friday. Joyce Garrard, her grandmother, found out about the chocolate and ordered Savannah to run around the house.

Investigators say the girl ran around the house on Carlisle Acres for three hours before she collapsed. Jessica Hardin called 911 when Savannah collapsed and told the operator that the child suffered from a seizure.

Savannah was taken to a Birmingham hospital and put on a ventilator. Her father, who was working overseas, flew home as soon as he found out that his daughter was in the hospital. Savannah died Monday after being taken off the ventilator.

Authorities opened an investigation into the case after a concerned neighbor called police and told them that she saw Savannah running around the yard for several hours before she was taken to the hospital. They ordered an autopsy and it was determined that the girl died from severe dehydration and low sodium as a result of running for hours without any water.

Jessica Hardin and Garrard were arrested and charged with murder. Their bond has been set at $500,000. Authorities say charges could be upgraded.

Jessica Hardin and her husband's 3-year-old son is in the father's custody.

Savannah was a third grade student at Carlisle Elementary School.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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