Teen recovering after surviving fire, car crash, and attempted drowning

Published: Apr. 20, 2012 at 12:19 AM CDT|Updated: Jan. 13, 2017 at 3:51 PM CST
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Charles Hardeman
Charles Hardeman

(WMC-TV) - A Marshall County, Mississippi teenager continues to recover one week after surviving a fire, attempted drowning, and a car crash.

High school senior Charles Hardeman, 18, is the youngest of Tammie Hardeman's four children.

"That's my baby boy," said Tammie Hardeman.  "He's a smart young man."

Charles Hardeman has been unable to speak from his bed at the MED, where he has been since barely escaping a bizarre attack last week in Slayden, Mississippi.

"Even in the hospital now, he's fighting," said Tammie Hardeman.  "Can do the thumbs up and wiggle them toes, and can open his eyes."

The attack included the burning down of his father's home and a futile attempt to escape in a truck that crashed into a nearby tree.

A belt was also found cinched around Charles Hardeman's soaking wet legs after he had been thrown into a pond next to his father's home.  A 75-pound chunk of concrete from a decorative deer was attached to the belt as an anchor.

"Weighed him down in the pond, and he got out," said Tammie Hardeman.

Investigators have interviewed neighbors and knocked on virtually every door in Slayden.

"The severity of this crime, we want to get to the bottom of it as quick as we can," said Major Kelly McMillen with the Marshall County Sheriff's Office.  "And the person responsible for it, we want to get them incarcerated as quick as we can."

"Eventually, Charles is going to tell us what happened and who done it to him," said Tammie Hardeman.  "Because anybody that comes to that house, if he knows them, he's going to tell."

Meanwhile, Tammie Hardeman said she plans to continue her vigil at her son's bedside.

"Charles is a fighter, and he's going to win this battle," she said.

H.W. Byers High School has set up a trust fund for Charles Hardeman.  Donations can be made to First State Bank in Holly Springs.

Anyone with information about the crime should call the Marshall County Sheriff's Department.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.