A metro-Atlanta father, Justin Ross Harris, 33, is being accused of murder after leaving his 22-month-old son in his car near Cumberland Mall on June 18, 2014.
Reports say that Harris forgot that he did not drop his toddler off at daycare, and left the child in the car when he went to work. When Harris realized his mistake, he became emotional and ran to his vehicle. Unfortunately, he was too late.
A witness reports that the distressed father had to be physically restrained once it became clear his child was gone. "He kept saying, ‘What have I done? What have I done?' And that's all that I could ascertain that he was saying."
According to the investigators, the temperature in the area was 88 degrees. It was reported today that there is evidence, according to police, that the father knew the child was in the car. If so, that would mean the difference between a potential Misdemeanor charge of Involuntary Manslaughter and a Felony Murder charge.
For now, Harris has been charged with felony murder and cruelty to children in the first degree. He is currently being held at the Cobb County Jail with no bond. According to police, the investigation continues.
These heartbreaking facts should, if nothing else, remind parents that children should never be left alone in a vehicle, especially during the warm summer months. Children are more susceptible to the effects of the sun, which can cause heat stroke and even death. According to the National Safety Counsel, children overheat three to five times faster than adults.
Harris's story is tragic and serves as a warning to not let this happen to your child or anyone else's. If you see a child alone in a vehicle call 911 immediately. It only takes a few minutes for a vehicle to reach life-threatening temperatures.