Dad charged with murder after Georgia toddler left in vehicle

Thursday, June 19, 2014 5:09 AM
Last updated Friday, June 20, 2014 12:28 AM
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MARIETTA, Ga.  — ATLANTA — A man whose 22-month-old son died after being left in a hot SUV for hours was being held without bond on a felony murder charge Thursday, police in suburban Atlanta said.

Cobb County police officers work at the scene Wednesday.  AJC VIA/GEORGIA NEWSPAPER PARTNERSHIP
AJC VIA/GEORGIA NEWSPAPER PARTNERSHIP
Cobb County police officers work at the scene Wednesday.

Justin Ross Harris, 33, originally of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is also charged with cruelty to children in his son's death, Cobb County police spokesman Dana Pierce said in a statement.

Harris, who lives in Marietta, told investigators that he was supposed to drive his son to daycare, but instead drove straight to work and didn't realize the boy was strapped into his car seat until the ride home Wednesday afternoon, police have said.

Temperatures in the metro Atlanta area that day reached the low 90s. Harris pulled his family's SUV into a nearby shopping center and began trying to revive the child, police have said.

"It's just a terrible, God-awful situation," Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds told WSB Radio in Atlanta. "The thought of what a 22-month old child went through during those seven or so hours ... you don't even want to imagine it." The murder charge doesn't suggest that Harris intended to kill his son, but does indicate that child neglect factored into the boy's death, Reynolds said.

Harris is being held in the Cobb County jail. It was not immediately clear if he has an attorney. The Cobb County Medical Examiner's office will perform the boy's autopsy, Pierce said.

In another case Thursday, a 20-year-old Augusta, Georgia, woman was charged with child neglect after a Richmond County sheriff's deputy climbed through a sunroof to pull her infant son from the backseat of her unattended vehicle. The woman had draped a white sheet over the boy's car seat and left him alone while she took a final exam for cosmetology school, sheriff's officials said. The boy was treated and released to his grandmother.

Officials from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning said the incidents are timely reminders of the agency's "Look Again" campaign.

The public awareness initiative, launched last month, reminds parents and childcare workers always to double check a vehicle for children before locking the doors and walking away.

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Darby
23730
Points
Darby 06/19/14 - 03:21 pm
4
0
"Who forgets their child is in the car?"

The same distracted types who will put a toddler in a portable car seat on top of the car, then get in and drive off.

Summer isn't even here yet, officially. Look for this to happen again and again across the nation.

Personal responsibility is NOT something that is stressed in the home or in schools today. It takes a back seat to political correctness.

jasper1
91
Points
jasper1 06/19/14 - 03:38 pm
1
0
No Excuses!

There is absolutely no excuse for this!! I am sickened!

rmwhitley
5526
Points
rmwhitley 06/19/14 - 04:35 pm
0
0
Castration,
Unpublished

followed by lethal injection.

Truth Matters
6316
Points
Truth Matters 06/19/14 - 05:13 pm
2
0
I would hope that I am never

I would hope that I am never so distracted that I could do this. However, I have an elderly relative living with us and when we finish those chores, some days I can't remember my name or why I went into the next room. And what did "Honey" tell me to get at the store?
Multitasking___
Remind your family and friends who transport children to "Look Again."

http://www.decal.ga.gov/ChildCareServices/TransportationNewsConference.aspx

crossyourarms
211
Points
crossyourarms 06/19/14 - 05:25 pm
4
0
This is terrible... Though I

This is terrible... Though I have never left my kids in the car by accident, I have driven all the way to work with my daughter in the backseat of my wife's car, only to realize that I forgot to drop her off... because it was not part of my routine [and she tends to be quiet in the car]. I can easily see this happening especially when driving the kids is not part of someone's routine. Very sad... I think a murder charge is perhaps a bit heavy for what is very likely an unintentional neglect...

Darby
23730
Points
Darby 06/19/14 - 11:12 pm
1
0
"Remind your family and friends who

transport children to "Look Again."

.
Maybe we should all, tired or not, put a post-it note on the rear-view mirror. Or set an alarm on our cell phones to remind us of tasks we tend to be too involved or too tired to remember.

Might seem silly, but if there is one chance in a million that a tragedy is averted, it might just be worth it.

Young Fred
15760
Points
Young Fred 06/20/14 - 12:07 am
2
1
"Intentional likely

"Intentional likely not."

Why, because you can't conceive someone being so callous?

"but there is nothing society can do to punish people beyond how they punish themselves."

Again you're projecting! You're projecting what you consider to be a normal human-being.

"Put them back in the front seat
This happens because the child is asleep & quiet....usually when a parent is not the one who takes the child to daycare....IMO this law is a killer!"

WHAT? Gosh I was in the exact same situation, and never, no not once, did I forget!

Wow, even Fiat-Lux whose prior writings I've saved just because he tends to show depth, has it wrong!

You peeps are looking at this all wrong. You're picturing yourselves on a typical busy workday, fighting the typical brain-dead morons who tend to populate our roadways. Stressing, and thinking, or even realizing you've forgotten something very important.

You don't forget a child in the back seat!!! Not unless alcohol, or pot, or some other mind-altering substance is involved. Or you're just sorry to begin with. If that is your excuse, that you're just sorry, I for one will feel safer for me and family, if your arz is locked up!

Give me a break from all this "any of us could have done this" crap! NO any of us could not have done this!

Don't get me wrong, I feel for the man who did the deed. It's a self caused tragedy he'll have to live with. I feel his pain, while simultaneously I 'm disgusted by his very presence!

Wake up call!!! Thoughtful people are a minority, even in the so called civilized world.

Young Fred
15760
Points
Young Fred 06/20/14 - 12:17 am
1
1
I appreciate

All that are honest enough to admit - they're distracted enough to maybe forget something important, something as important as your child!

I can only say ... Get your sorry arz off the road! My wife, mother, and daughter is out there!!!

Young Fred
15760
Points
Young Fred 06/20/14 - 12:31 am
0
1
Darby

I love ya man! You're another poster who I look up on a regular basis. But you have this all wrong!

Post-it notes?! I get your "one-chance-in- a-million sentiment, but even Michelle Obama could not force enough half-brained morons to do anything even closely related to acting responsible.

seenitB4
81914
Points
seenitB4 06/20/14 - 05:41 am
3
2
young fred

YOU are totally out of line with your comments...TOTALLY

I hope Mr Sean takes a look at them...humans MAKE MISTAKES--they are distracted at times...& one day it will hit YOU like a ton of bricks. I once forgot my teenage daughter at the mall...drove home & was within 2 miles of home when I remembered..I never heard the end of that...& guess what fred....I have a darn good memory.
This is not like you...wondering why so rude..

corgimom
28543
Points
corgimom 06/20/14 - 06:54 am
1
2
I don't think what Young Fred

I don't think what Young Fred said was rude. I agree with him.

And seenit, I don't think that you would ever, ever, ever forget a baby in a car. A baby, a totally dependent, helpless infant. Parents are hard-wired when children are small to be aware of them always. It's hard to walk away from an infant even when you know they are safe and secure with someone else.

It's sad that people would remember a cell phone before an child. Besides, if they put the cell phone in the back seat, then how can they drive and talk on it at the same time?

seenitB4
81914
Points
seenitB4 06/20/14 - 08:30 am
3
1
corgi

I didn't think I would forget a teen at a mall..BUT I DID!

In this world of today with all the crap flying around us..anything is possible...it happens on a regular basis now (kids left in car) why chance it all the time....come up with solutions.

GodisSoGood
854
Points
GodisSoGood 06/20/14 - 10:14 am
1
0
If he is to be charged with

If he is to be charged with murder, they will have to find evidence of intent. .

Young Fred
15760
Points
Young Fred 06/20/14 - 10:38 am
2
0
seenit

A teen at the mall is nowhere near an infant in the back seat!

I wasn't trying to be rude, I was trying to wake people up. To forgive is a virtue, and I understand that we have a lot of regular posters who are kindhearted.

Rational people tend to be introspective when trying to understand the inexplicable. We tend to get caught up in the obvious heart-rending pain some go through when they've committed an egregious error.

No matter what Ophra or Disney may preach, I believe, that in the long run, we as a society are better served by letting our brains override or hearts instead of vice versa.

Again, I didn't mean to offend, only to provoke thought that might override emotion.

I can forgive, I can understand, but I cannot excuse (unless he's in the first stages of Alzheimer's), which is the jist of what I took from many of the above comments.

Seenit, I always enjoy your comments and wit, and usually agree with you 99% of the time! this is just one of those 1% moments.

BamaMan
2231
Points
BamaMan 06/20/14 - 10:35 am
0
0
While

it doesn't appear to be intentional, who wouldn't at least think of their child during the day, mother OR father? He would be suffering in jail, divorced, if it were me.

tncatbird
56
Points
tncatbird 06/20/14 - 01:35 pm
0
0
Kids in Cars

Such a tragedy for this man and his family. Poor child. But I really don't believe it was intentional. I like one of the other posters, have driven to a place and can't remember the trip at all. Too much on the mind.

BUT, the woman who put the sheet over her child! Now that is intent.

seenitB4
81914
Points
seenitB4 06/20/14 - 02:50 pm
1
0
ok young fred

I guess I can look over the 1%...but not any higher than 1%...
:)

AutumnLeaves
6091
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/20/14 - 02:58 pm
0
0
They will have to look at the

They will have to look at the facts of each case. I just still don't understand why the court threw the book at the woman who thought her helper (a relative) had gotten her baby out of the car while she answered a call from her husband and didn't realize until nap time was close to over that the baby wasn't in the crib. That sounds like a total and tragic error, but I wasn't at the trial, do not know what other factors they might have had to consider, so I just pray that what the courts decided was just. She ended up going to jail if I remember correctly. Sometimes things are not what they seems in early stages of reporting. Or ever.

Young Fred
15760
Points
Young Fred 06/20/14 - 06:25 pm
0
0
Heck,

If we didn't have the 1%, we'd be clones.

Now that's a boring thought!

I'll try to give notice when it reaches 1.1% or higher.

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