Questions surround both parents in death of Cooper Harris

ATLANTA, Ga. (WIAT) — New developments continue to emerge in the death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris, a Georgia toddler who died when he was left in a hot car for hours. Ross Harris is charged with killing his son. Now, the child’s mother, Leanna Harris is finding herself under the microscope as well.

After she defended her husband against people who called him a murderer, Leanna may have to defend her own actions. In search warrants released Sunday, police were quoted as saying, “Leanna Harris the child’s mother was also questioned regarding the incident and made similar statements regarding researching in car deaths and how it occurs.”

Police did not say when the search was conducted.

Cooper Harris died June 18th after being left alone in an SUV for seven hours. The high temperature that day was 92 degrees with temperatures inside the car reaching at least 130 degrees. Cooper’s father, Ross Harris, is being held in the Cobb County, Georgia jail without bond. He says he’s not guilty.

IMG952343Ross phoned in to his son’s funeral service in Tuscaloosa Saturday, where cameras were not allowed. He was heard over speaker phone, sobbing. He thanked the crowd for their support. The hundreds there stood to applaud him.

Carol Brown said, “I’m here for him, even if he’s done a horrible thing.” Brown is a longtime family friend, was in attendance at the funeral on Saturday. She said, “I mean he could have gone to the car and not seen the little boy, if the boy was sleeping, or [you] know…it could happen. He could have been distracted. So…but I do have questions about it.”

Questions continue to pop up in this case, and some of them may be aimed at Cooper’s mother. That includes why would both parents do a search, as police say, for how long it takes a child to die in a hot car? It still must be determined if this was a tragic coincidence, or something much worse.

The day Cooper Harris died his father told police he didn’t notice his son in the back seat until he was driving home. A warrant though indicates Ross Harris went to his car at lunchtime and put something in the vehicle. It is unclear if he saw his son in his car seat at that time.

As for the mother Leanna, defense attorney, Page Pate, says what she has told police is key to the investigation, “She can shed a lot of light on what type of father he was, what perhaps they were going through at the time, you know, was there a need to keep him out of day care.  What was the reason, if this was intentional, to keep him in the back seat of the car?  Maybe she knows.”

The medical examiner’s office found Cooper Harris’ cause of death was consistent with “hyperthermia”. They are still waiting for toxicology test results before making an official ruling. Ross Harris is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Thursday.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News


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