Warrant: Father researched hot car deaths
ATLANTA — A Georgia man charged with murder after his 22-month-old son died in a hot sport utility vehicle searched online for information about kids dying in cars and told police that he feared it could happen, according to documents released on Saturday as the boy's family planned a funeral in Alabama.
The search warrants, including the family's condo, car and electronics, released by the Cobb County Police Department provide insight into the investigation of Cooper Harris' death on June 18.
Justin Ross Harris, 33, has told police that he was supposed to drive his son to day care that morning but drove to work without realizing that his son was strapped into a car seat in the back.
In an interview after his son's death, Harris told investigators that he had done a web search on what temperature could cause a child's death in a vehicle.
“During an interview with Justin, he stated that he recently researched, through the Internet, child deaths inside vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for that to occur. Justin stated that he was fearful that this could happen,” one of the four warrants released to The Associated Press stated.
Harris told police that he was on his way to meet friends after work when he realized his son was in the back seat and pulled into a shopping center to get help, according to the warrants.
He is charged with murder and second-degree child cruelty in his son's death. He remained in jail as family members held a funeral in Tuscaloosa.
Police have said facts in the case “do not point toward simple negligence.” A previously released arrest warrant stated that Harris stopped with his son for breakfast and returned to put something in his car during the day while the child was still inside. The Cobb County Medical Examiner's office said Wednesday that it believes the cause of Cooper Harris' death was hyperthermia and manner of death was homicide.
The temperature that day was 88 degrees at 5:16 p.m., according to a warrant filed on the day after the child died.
In an obituary published last week, the child's family said Cooper loved trucks and cars, had just learned the color red and was a happy baby.