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Stepmom gives birth after arrest in death

MONTGOMERY — An Alabama woman has given birth the same day she was arrested for the death of her 9-year-old stepdaughter, who authorities say died after being forced to run for three hours as punishment for eating a candy bar.

Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp says Jessica Mae Hardin is under guard at a hospital after giving birth Wednesday.

Mrs. Hardin and her mother-in-law, Joyce Hardin Garrard, were charged with murder in the death of Savannah Hardin. Mr. Harp says his office is interviewing witnesses and may upgrade the charges to capital murder, which carries a possible death sentence.

Mr. Harp says Savannah Hardin had a bladder condition and was not supposed to have the caffeine in chocolate. He says there is no evidence the condition contributed to her death.

MAINE

Toddler walks mile in middle of night

BAILEYVILLE — A 3-year-old Maine girl, possibly confused by a dream, walked a mile to a grocery store in the middle of the night, thinking her mother was inside buying pizza.

Police say Hope Trott woke up in the middle of the night last week, put on shoes, threw a jacket on over her nightdress and walked to the store through freshly fallen snow. Temperatures were around 29 degrees.

An employee found the girl crying outside the store at 4 a.m. and called police.

Police officers followed her footprints to her Baileyville home, found the front door open, and thinking a home invasion was in progress, entered with guns drawn. They found Hope’s parents and siblings asleep.

Her parents have since installed a chain and deadbolt.

From wire dispatches and staff reports