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Police: Mom Researched Hot Car Deaths, Too

Father is facing murder charge in June 18 death of Cooper Harris.

Cooper Harris died on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 after spending more than seven hours in an SUV in Cobb County. Credit: Facebook.
Cooper Harris died on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 after spending more than seven hours in an SUV in Cobb County. Credit: Facebook.
Court documents show the mother of a child who died after left in a hot SUV told police that she also researched children dying in hot cars, according to media reports, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Leanna Harris' husband, Justin Ross Harris, has been charged with murder and 2nd degree child cruelty in the death of their 22-month-old son on June 18. On Saturday, search warrants showed that Justin Harris had also researched hot car deaths. Justin Harris has pleaded not guilty.

“Leanna Harris, the child’s mother, was also questioned regarding the incident and made similar statements regarding researching in car deaths and how it occurs,” warrants released Sunday note, according to the AJC.

Leanna Harris was questioned hours after the death and has not been identified as a suspect, notes CBS 46.

According to search warrants released Saturday, Justin Harris told police he recently researched hot car deaths because, "he was fearful that this could happen."

While an average of 38 children die in hot cars each year, according to a San Francisco State University study, more than half of those tragedies are linked to parents forgetting the children are in the car. Cobb County authorities note evidence suggests this was not "simple negligence," according to The Associated Press.

Justin Harris reportedly strapped his son, Cooper, into a rear-facing car seat after stopping for breakfast June 18 and headed to work, where he left the boy in the car all day. Justin Harris returned to the car at lunch to put something in the front seat, according to a warrant.

Seven hours after leaving the boy in the car, Harris pulled over on his way home from work and sought assistance with his son, according to the warrant. Cooper was declared dead in a shopping center parking lot.

When outside temperatures are in the 60s, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to more than 110 degrees, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Temperatures can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes inside a car.

“Even with a window rolled down two inches, if the outside temperature is in the low 80s° Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes,” the NHTSA reports. Further, children’s bodies do not regulate heat as well as adults. “In fact, when left in a hot vehicle, a young child's body temperature may increase three to five times as fast an adult. High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death.”

See Also:

Father Charged With Murder Researched Child Car Deaths

Online Petition Supporting Justin Harris Withdrawn

Cobb Toddler's Death in Hot Car Prompts Prevention Campaign Proposal

Report: Cobb Father Knew Son Was In Hot SUV

Petition Asks Cobb D.A. to Drop Murder Charges Against Justin Harris

Cobb Father Charged with Felony Murder in Son’s Death

Child Heatstroke Death From Inside SUV Renews Warnings


erie July 03, 2014 at 07:41 PM
Search warrants released over the weekend noted that Harris told police he "recently researched, through the internet, child deaths inside vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for that to occur.” Had taken out two life insurance policies on the toddler.
erie July 03, 2014 at 07:44 PM
Why would anyone search "how to survive in prison."? I mean like dam!
David Larson July 05, 2014 at 10:12 AM
stupid humans
Felix C. July 07, 2014 at 01:38 PM
It looks like both parents were in on the plan. My heart aches for that poor little boy. If you don't want the kid, you do not have to kill him. There are plenty of people who would love the chance to be parents.

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