Police say 22-month-old Cooper Harris may have spent his final moments desperately trying to escape from his tight car seat in the hot vehicle.
The boy died on June 18 after being left in an SUV on a 90-degree day in Atlanta.
Investigators say the toddler rubbed his head against the car seat and scratched his own face in a struggle to free himself.
His father Justin Ross Harris, 33, was charged with murder and child cruelty. He was denied bail Thursday.
Harris claims he forgot his son in the car on his way to work.
Police say at lunch time, Harris bought some light bulbs and threw them into his car from the driver’s side door.
Harris claims he didn’t see his son inside.
Cobb Police Det. Phillip Stoddard testified at a bond hearing that the belts on the toddler’s car seat were as tight as they could be and that the seat was facing toward the rear. Stoddard says his head was plainly visible above the seat.
Harris had recently searched online about how long it took for children to die in a hot car. Stoddard said he twice viewed a video showing the painful deaths of animals left in hot cars. He also searched “how to survive in prison.”
An arrest warrant shows he discussed collecting two life insurance policies on his son while he was behind bars. The couple had a $25,000 and a $2,000 policy on their son.
“I think the evidence now is showing intent,” Stoddard said.
While at work the say his son died, Harris also exchanged nude photographs with six women, including a teen. Stoddard said he also used a smartphone app to message pictures of his genitals.
Stoddard told a judge that Harris should remain in jail because he is a flight risk, citing a “double life” he was leading and the fact that he has law enforcement experience as a former 911 dispatcher.
He claims both Harris and his wife appeared to be unemotional when they learned their son was dead.
A judge found probable cause Thursday and denied bond.