Yesterday, there was tragic news when a father caused the death of his child by absent-mindedly leaving the baby in the back of a hot car for the whole day.
Justin Ross Harris, 33, of Atlanta, intended to take his 22-month-old son, Cooper, to the on-site daycare at his workplace of over two years, the Atlanta Home Depot headquarters, at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
He forgot about the baby who ended up strapped into a car seat in 91 degree heat for seven hours (previously reported as eight hours).
On his way home, Justin finally realised the child was still in the back of the car that authorities estimate got to 130-140 degrees inside.
At this point, the child was non-responsive.
“Apparently, he forgot the child was in the car seat in the back of the automobile and went to work, left work sometime around 4 or 4:15,” said Sgt. Dana Pierce of the Cobb County Police Department.
The new father pulled into the nearby Akers Mill Square shopping mall parking lot and lay the child on the ground in order to perform CPR. Onlookers also tried to help as the distraught father declared “What have I done” over and over.
Eyewitness Dale Hamilton told then media, “[The baby boy] was lifeless, he was in the same position as if he were sitting in the car seat. It’s something that I’ll remember for a long time.”
Paramedics also tried to resuscitate the child. The child could not be revived, however, and was pronounced dead at the scene. His father became so overwhelmed he had to be restrained once police arrived on the scene.
Justin was later questioned and according to his arrest warrant he’s been charged with felony murder and cruelty to children in the first degree.
“Said accused did leave a 22-month-old juvenile male unattended and strapped into a child car seat in a parked vehicle for approximately seven hours during daytime hours after which the child was found deceased,” the warrant states.
Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said the investigation is “far, far from over… I don’t know where this investigation will ultimately lead.”
Vic added, “It’s just a terrible, God-awful situation. I can’t imagine, I can’t fathom what any parent would be going through at this stage. It’s the type of case that affects the community.”
As such, and since Magistrate Judge John Strauss declared Justin could not be granted bond, Justin will spend at least until July 15 in the Cobb County jail awaiting trial.
The landlord who rents to Justin and his wife called them “very, very nice,” adding “Everything was going right for this couple. They wanted to buy a house so they could have some space for their child to run around the backyard.”
The baby will shortly undergo an autopsy.