A Georgia man charged with murder last week for allegedly allowing his son to die in a hot car had returned to his car midday without stopping to look after his son, police said Tuesday.
The revelation, contained in a new police report, offers insight into authorities’ decision to charge the father, Justin Ross Harris, with murder after his 22-month-old child died of heat stroke. The original arrest warrant suggested that Harris, 33, drove to work with his son in the backseat after forgetting to drop him off at day care and only discovered him unresponsive on the way home. But officials stressed from the outset that there may be more to the story. Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds told Atlanta radio station WSB last week that the “investigation is far, far from over.”
The death, one of many similar cases this year, has received substantial media attention in large part because of the severity of the charge filed against Harris. Many lawyers and other observers rallied to support a father who appeared to have committed a terrible accident. A Change.org petition asking that charges be dropped has received more than 11,000 signatures.
Harris, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held without bail in Cobb County jail and is scheduled to appear in court on July 15.