Henderson Co. mother accused of killing 5-year-old daughter

Updated: Apr. 26, 2021 at 4:54 PM EDT
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HENDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Officials say a mother accused of killing her 5-year-old daughter waived her right to an initial court appearance.

On the morning of April 25, a 911 call was placed at 8:43 a.m. from a home on Fiesta Lane, where a distraught father said he found his 5-year-old daughter in her room with a stab wound. In the call, the victim’s father said the girl hadn’t even started school yet.

A family member told FOX Carolina the little girl’s name was Caroline.

Her father tells the 911 dispatcher multiple times that he can’t believe the girl’s mother could do this. The dispatcher gave him instructions on how to perform CPR on Caroline until first responders arrived.

Caroline succumbed to her injuries at the scene.

Deputies say the child’s mother, Penny Short Hartle, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Mugshot of Penny Hartle
Mugshot of Penny Hartle(Henderson Co. Sheriff's Office)

An hour prior to the 911 call placed from Fiesta Lane, another 911 call was placed from a nearby home. A neighbor called 911 at 7:41 a.m. to report a stranger had entered the unlocked home and climbed into their bed while they were sleeping.

“She laid in my bed while I was in it and passed out,” the caller tells 911. “I have no club who she is.”

Officials were dispatched to the home, but before they arrived, the caller called 911 again. The second call was placed at 7:49 a.m. and the caller said the woman had gotten up and left the home.

“She doesn’t know where she’s at but she was saying her blood sugar is dropping and she was shaking,” the caller said. “She’s getting into somebody’s truck right now.”

The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the woman who climbed into the stranger’s bed was Peggy Hartle.

Michael Miller, another nearby neighbor, told FOX Carolina the truck mentioned in the 911 call was his.

“She left the house and got into a vehicle in my parking spot,” he said. “She was rummaging around in there, wrapping herself in paper towels so I don’t know. They said she was shaking like she was in shock.”

Deputies have not released additional details yet about how Hartle was taken into custody after the incident.

Hartle received no bond and waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Monday.

She will be appointed a public defender, but one had not been assigned as of Monday morning. A further court date has not yet been set.