Thursday, May 10, 2012
‘Charles never gave up’
By SUE WATSON
Charles Hardeman, an H.W. Byers junior, is home and in his mother’s care after spending several weeks at The Med recovering from head trauma and a stroke that paralyzed his left arm.
His mother, Tammie Hardeman, of Grand Junction, Tenn., said her 18-year-old son’s miraculous survival, from a blow to the face and being thrown in a lake with a weight tied to his foot to die, has brought them both closer to God.
Doctors at the Memphis, Tenn., hospital gave Charles a 1 in 4 million chance to live and if he did, he would be a vegetable, she said.
They had been religious before this experience, but are more so now, Tammie said. She believes her son was protected by God throughout his ordeal and that God saved him for a reason.
“It didn’t hurt his memory at all,” she said. “He always wanted to learn different things. I call it weird, but they say he’s unique – nothing like me, his dad or his sister. He’s a fighter.”
At an early age Charles wanted to learn how to use sign language. He wanted to be able to communicate in case he was ever unable to speak. Later he learned Morse Code.
Tammie said while her son was in the hospital he was agitated and fearful that the persons who hurt him were coming after him. But when he knew he was safe, he settled down.
The investigative team was anxious to interview Charles after he regained consciousness, but he was on a respirator.
“As soon as he got the tubes out he kept wanting to call Kelly McMillen (investigator with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department) and tell him things,” Tammie said.
Now she realizes she has a special child, she said. He brings her pride.
“I tell him every day how proud I am he’s here and how I love him,” she said.
McMillen said Sheriff Kenny Dickerson and the entire investigative team was relieved to know Charles was going to pull through and help with the investigation.
“We had nothing at that point,” he said.
McMillen said he never has handled a case quite like this one.
“It’s definitely a miracle for him to be here with us today,” McMillen said.
Tammie said he believes what happened to him will ultimately help others later on.
McMillen said the lesson Charles is teaching by his recovery is to never give up.
“That’s because Charles never gave up. He’s a survivor of death in many ways,” McMillen said.
His mother agreed.
“We are going to rehab and do a lot of talking and physical therapy because he has a strong mind,” she said.
Charles said he did know when he was in the water but does not know how he escaped from drowning and got out of the lake. He said being thrown in the lake was the hardest part to accept.
“The part about them going so far as to drown me, too, that’s the hard part,” he said.
Tammie is also disappointed because she said one of the suspects had stayed at her home after being thrown out of his own house.
“He stayed at my house and has eaten at my house,” she said.
She said her son knew both of the suspects.
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