Support fades for Cobb Co. father charged in hot car death

COBB COUNTY, Ga. – Support appears to be fading for the Cobb County father charged with murder after leaving his 22-month-old son in a hot car.

Justin Ross Harris, 33, is charged with murder and second-degree cruelty to a child in the death of his son, Cooper. Harris told police that he forgot to drop his son off at daycare on June 18.

Harris initially garnered an enormous amount of online support after police filed murder charges against him. Thousands signed an online petition urging Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds to drop the charges.

However, police issued a new arrest warrant on Wednesday that offered more details into the events surrounding the boy's death. In it, police said that Harris and his son had breakfast at a Chick-fil-A on Cumberland Boulevard on the morning of the incident. The warrant states Harris placed his son into rear-facing car seat a little after 9 a.m.

WARRANT: Read the criminal warrant for Justin Harris

Harris should have turned at the intersection of Paces Ferry Rd and Cumberland Parkway to head to Cooper's daycare. Instead, he went straight through the intersection and proceeded to work.

When 11Alive's Ryan Kruger tested it on Thursday, the drive from the Chick-fil-A to Harris' office took less than three minutes. Harris told police it was enough time for him to forget his son was in the backseat.

Cooper Harris's daycare is located at the Home Depot Corporate Headquarters off Paces Ferry Road. His father works at the Home Depot "Treehouse Office" located about a mile away on Cumberland Parkway.

At 4:16 that afternoon Harris left work for the day and traveled north on Cumberland Pkwy toward the Akers Mill shopping center, instead of south toward his son's daycare. Police say he pulled over into the shopping center when he realized his son was incapacitated.

After the new information was released, organizers of the online petition shut it down. A message posted on Thursday read:

Hello, I think that based on the recent developments this petition is no longer relevant. I still pray that this was truly an accident. If that is the case, the DA now knows that the community does not want Justin prosecuted on murder charges.

Cooper Harris' mother, Leanna Harris, has managed to avoid the intense media spotlight focused on her husband. Police say both Justin Harris and his wife remain under intense scrutiny, but only the father is charged.

The police department stated publicly for the first time on Wednesday that they do not believe Cooper's death was an accident.

People who witnessed Justin Harris when he discovered his son's body at Akers Mill had differing opinions on his guilt.

Cooper will be buried on Saturday in Alabama.

More than $20,000 has been raised for the Harris' family, but that funding appears to have stalled as well.


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