Dad of Toddler Killed in Hot Car Researched Child Deaths, Warrant Says

Justin Harris is accused of murdering his 22-month-old son.

ByABC News
June 28, 2014, 2:16 PM

— -- New documents released today just hours before a service was to be held for Cooper Harris said the toddler's father allegedly researched child deaths in hot cars before he left his 22-month-old son locked in his car all day while he went to work.

"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," read the warrant, released today by Magistrate Court of Cobb County in Georgia. "Justin stated that he was fearful that this could happen."

The services for Cooper, the 22-month-old Georgia boy who died after his father left him in a hot car while he went to work, are scheduled to be held in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where the family is originally from, according to ABC News affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta.

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Cooper's father Justin Harris is accused of the toddler's murder and is being held without bail in Cobb County, Ga. Harris will not attend the funeral according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Harris says that he drove to work with Cooper strapped in the back seat and forgot to drop the boy off at daycare before he went to work. He has been charged with first-degree murder and second-degree cruelty against children.

Cooper was found after Harris left work around 4:15. He told police he noticed his son was in the back seat as he drove and he immediately pulled over at a shopping mall and asked for help and yelled "Oh my God, what have I done," according to the warrant. Harris then started CPR, but Cooper was pronounced dead after emergency personnel arrived.

Harris was arrested after police executed a search warrant in his office and home. According to The Associated Press, police also determined that Harris returned to his car at some point during the day and put something inside. The case initially caused outrage for those who believed Harris was being unfairly charged after a horrific accident.

A petition encouraged prosecutors to drop the charges against Harris and was signed by more than 11,000 people before the petition was withdrawn this week following newly released evidence.

On Thursday, the Cobb County Medical Examiner released initial results of the autopsy, which found the cause of death was likely hyperthermia. The medical examiner also indicated that a homicide was likely.

In an online obituary by, Cooper was remembered as a happy child who loved trucks and the color red. The obituary makes no mention of the case against his father.

"[Cooper] was loved and cherished and protected by both parents and all family members for his short 22 months of life," read the obituary.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.