Joyce Hardin Garrard, 49, stands accused of forcing Savannah
Hardin to run non-stop for three hours in February 2012. Authorities
say the girl collapsed, went into seizures and died days later at a
Hardin died from dehydration and low sodium, a condition common in
marathon runners, Etowah County Sheriff's spokeswoman Natalie Barton
Hardin suffered from unspecified medical issues that resulted in
frequent doctors visits, according to court documents.
Defense attorneys have said that it was the girl's medical
condition, and not the punishment, that caused her death.
Hardin's stepmother, Jessica Mae Hardin, is also charged in the
case, with witnessing the punishment and failing to intervene.
Defense attorney Dani Bone did not immediately return messages
The girl lived with her father, whose mother is accused in her
death. He frequently traveled for work and was out of town at the
time of the incident, authorities said.
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A third grader, Hardin was a successful student, said Alan Cosby,
superintendent of the Etowah County Schools.
"She was a very pleasant, nice young lady," Cosby said.
(Editing by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
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