5-year-old's death shocks other vacationers

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary about the grandmother accused of killing her grandson, said a woman whose family spent several days on the beach with the victim.

"We didn't suspect anything odd," Christy Gandy said. "They were very friendly."

Gandy said she and her family were shocked to learn that the day after leaving their St. George Island, Fla., condo that 5-year-old Camden Hiers, of Roswell, was killed. His maternal grandmother, 71-year-old Marianne Bordt, was arrested Monday evening and charged with his murder. She is accused of drowning the child in the bathtub of their upstairs rental condo, according to police.

Bordt and her husband, Heinz Bordt, were vacationing with the child at the beach. When her husband returned from a trip to the store Monday afternoon, Marianne Bordt told him she killed the child because she didn't want him to grow up in a divorced home, according to an affidavit from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

Gandy, her husband, and their two boys checked into a downstairs condo at the same address on Dec. 27. The Bordts, she said, arrived the following day. Although Marianne Bordt didn't speak English well, Gandy said the Bordts were friendly.

But it was little Camden that got the Gandys' attention.

"He just gravitated to both of my sons and to my husband," Gandy said. "He was so sweet, and just the cutest little boy."

During the past week, Gandy's boys, ages 8 and 12, played with Camden on the beach, building a sand fort and tossing a football. Camden was a happy, normal kid, and he spoke English and German, Gandy said.

"He even told my husband ‘I talk a lot,' " Gandy said.

Gandy said her family has been devastated over the news of Camden's death at his grandmother's arrest.

Marianne Bordt also said she had tried to kill herself in the ocean, police said. She was denied bond in a Tuesday hearing, and remains in the Franklin County jail. A public defender has been appointed to defend Bordt.

An autopsy was conducted on the child, but details regarding the findings have not yet been released, Kristen Chernosky with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Wednesday afternoon.

The attorney and friend of Camden's father, David Hiers, said the little boy's death came as a shock.

"He's extremely overwhelmed with grief," Alpharetta attorney Thomas Salata said Wednesday afternoon.

David Hiers and his ex-wife, Karin Hiers, shared custody of their only child, 5-year-old Camden, Salata said. The couple divorced in 2006 and the child lived with his mother in Roswell.

Salata said he had become friends with his client since the divorce, and that David Hiers had contacted him after learning of his son's death.

"He's devastated," Salata said. "They are both wonderful parents."

David Hiers, of Alpharetta, drove down to Florida to speak to police conducting the investigation into his child's death, Salata said. He returned to Georgia on Wednesday.

The Bordts, both German nationals, apparently lived at least temporarily with their daughter in her Roswell home. Marianne Bordt's most recent address, on Wild Run Court, is the same address as Karin and Camden Hiers, according to police.

Neighbors on Wilde Run Court said they knew very little about the family and rarely saw anyone outside of the corner home. The family kept to themselves, said Eric Cardwell, who lives across the street from Karin Hiers' home.

"Everybody knows each other," said Sousan Maserrat who lives on the same street. "But I've asked three neighbors, and nobody knows who they are."

The Gandy family has not been in touch with Camden's family since learning of his death. But the family has found comfort in knowing his last few days were happy ones.

"We feel like we gave him a lot of joy and happiness his last few days," Gandy said. "He was having a good time."