After his toddler son died from being left in a car for several hours, a Cobb County man’s support starts to fade after admitting to police he searched online for “children dying in vehicles,” according to a warrant affidavit released early this morning.
Justin Harris drove to work as usual on June 18, with his 22-month-old son, Cooper Mills Harris, in the backseat. Harris reportedly first stopped by the Chick-fil-A on Cumberland Blvd. in Vinings, where he and the toddler ate breakfast prior to arriving at the Cumberland Home Depot “Tree Office,” where he works. However, on the three-minute drive from Chick-fil-A to Home Depot, Harris claims he completely forgot his young son was in the car. Consequently, the boy was left in a locked car all day, only discovered by Harris once he was done with work, seven hours later.
After finding his son in the car, Harris pulled over to a shopping center parking lot off of Akers Mill Road and began screaming for help. Once medical help arrived, Harris began making calls on his cellphone. Although several efforts were made, Cooper couldn’t be resuscitated. According to police, the young boy was already dead before medical help arrived.
An extremely uncooperative Harris was placed in handcuffs and taken in for questioning while police searched his Hyundai Tucson.
After five hours of questioning, Cobb police arrested Harris and charged him with with felony murder and second-degree child cruelty. Yet, those who know Harris and even people who had never heard of him prior to the incident stood behind him, stating that it’s unfair for him to be charged for murder over something that was a horrible mistake. An online petition page was quickly created for Harris, garnering even more attention.
However, the release of statements allegedly made by Harris when questioned by authorities has prompted the creators of the petition page to withdraw their support and has left many others who once supported him shaking their heads in confusion and shock.
“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,” the search warrant affidavit states.
Although Officer Mike Bowman of the Cobb County Police Department wouldn’t offer any additional information, he did indicate that the search warrants were signed by a judge and handed over to the detective on the case.
Harris remains in the Cobb County Adult Detention Center with no bond.