ATLANTA – A Georgia man charged with murder after his 22-month-old son died in a hot SUV searched online for information about kids dying in cars and told police he feared it could happen, according to documents released Saturday as the boy’s family held his funeral in Alabama.
The warrants released by the Cobb County Police Department provide more insight into the investigation of Cooper Harris’ death June 18.
Justin Ross Harris, 33, has told police 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 an online search on what temperature could cause a child’s death in a vehicle. The warrant doesn’t specify when Harris did the searches.
“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 stated.
Harris also told police 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.
Harris is charged with murder and second-degree child cruelty in his son’s death, and remained in jail Saturday as family members held a funeral in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Harris called the ceremony from the Cobb County Jail in Marietta, Georgia, and emotionally thanked people for their support since his arrest hours after the boy’s death.
The boy’s mother, Leanna Harris, also made her first comments about her son’s death and the charges against her husband at the funeral ceremony.
“Ross was and is a wonderful father,” Harris said to the applause of about 250 mourners.