UPDATE: Death of toddler left in hot car ruled a homicide

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comJune 25, 2014 

Justin Ross Harris

UPDATE: The death of 22-month-old Cooper Mills Harris has been ruled a homicide, Cobb County police said Wednesday afternoon.

“The Cobb County Medical Examiner’s Office is waiting for toxicology test results before making an official ruling as to the cause and manner of death,” police said in a written statement, according to the AJC. “However, the Cobb County Medical Examiner believes the cause of death is consistent with hyperthermia and the investigative information suggests the manner of death is homicide.”

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New details have emerged in the case of the Cobb County father whose 22-month-old toddler died last Wednesday after being left in a hot car all day.

According to the arrest warrant for Justin Ross Harris obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Harris "stopped at Chik-fil-A for breakfast and then put his son back in a car seat and the two drove to Harris’ office."

Harris had previously told investigators that he had forgotten to drop his son Cooper off at daycare and only realized his mistake while driving home from work hours later. By 4 p.m., the temperature hit 88 degrees in Cobb County.

According to the AP, "Harris, 33, told police that as soon as he became aware, he pulled his family's SUV into a nearby shopping center and began trying to revive the child."

According to witnesses at the shopping center, Harris was yelling, "What have I done? What have I done? I've killed our child."

According to the warrant, Harris returned to his car at least once before leaving work that day.

“During lunch (Harris) did access the same vehicle through the driver’s side door to place an object into the vehicle,” according to the warrant. “Said accused then closed the door and left the car, re-entering his place of business.”

Harris is charged with felony murder and cruelty to children in the second degree.

Last week, Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said the investigation was "far, far from over."

"It's just a terrible, God-awful situation," Reynolds told WSB Radio. "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."

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