By now, most people have heard about the disturbing case involving the Atlanta man who says he accidentally left his 22-month-old son in his hot car for too long. The young child died, and the father is insisting that he had no idea he left his son in the vehicle until it was too late. But now, investigators say that they believe the act could have been intentional.
Authorities say that a new piece of information has them further convinced that Justin Ross Harris, 33, intentionally killed his son. Reports say that prior to “accidentally” leaving his son in the hot car, Harris had run a search on his work computer to find out how long it would take for an animal to die in a hot car.
Additionally, despite Harris’s claims that he mistakenly forgot to drop his son off at daycare, it is being reported that he actually returned to his car around lunchtime to “put something inside” while his child suffered in extreme temperatures said to be as high as 120 degrees.
“The chain of events that occurred in this case do not point toward simple negligence, and evidence will be presented to support this allegation," said Cobb County Police Chief John Houser.
Reports say that Harris took his 22-month-old son to a Chick-fil-A restaurant early in the morning on the day of the incident, and instead of bringing him to daycare, the father went straight to work. Witnesses say that Harris pulled into a nearby parking lot at the end of the day upon “realizing” that his son was in the car unresponsive, and when he pulled him out to try and resuscitate him, he had an emotional breakdown, realizing what had happened. Some say that his reaction seemed genuine, but other witnesses think it was very clearly overdramatic and acknowledge that he first claimed his son had choked before saying that he accidentally was left in the hot car.
“I know he had lost his baby, but he was acting up more than he should have been,” said witness Edward Cockerham. “It seemed like acting to me. When he pulled in and people started asking him what had happened, he said that the baby had just started choking.”
The details of this case are disturbing, to say the least. And while there is no concrete evidence that Harris had intentionally killed his son, police acknowledge that it’s appearing more and more unlikely that this was an accident.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 34 years,” said Cobb County Police Sgt. Dana Pierce. "What I know about this case shocks my conscience as a police officer, a father and a grandfather.”
Harris has officially been charged with cruelty to a child in the second degree and felony murder.