Dad charged with murder after leaving son in hot car barred from funeral


A Georgia father who has been charged with murder and second-degree child cruelty when his toddler son died from hyperthermia after being left in his car will not be allowed to attend the funeral.

While in many states inmates are allowed a temporary leave to attend funerals on compassionate grounds, this is not the case for Cobb County, Georgia, where the death occurred last Wednesday.

The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office told The Daily Mail, “We do not transport inmates to funeral services, that’s it, that’s our policy.”

UPDATE: The child’s mother, Leanna Harris, also researched information about children dying in hot vehicles prior to his death. This information came to light after search warrant information and court documents were released over the weekend. In the initial news reports it was said that the father had researched about “animals” but his query was also about children. He told police he did this because he was “fearful” it could happen.

Leanna Harris has not been identified as a suspect and no exact time frame has been given in regards to when either internet search was done. When the mother spoke at her child’s funeral she stated, “Ross was and is a wonderful father.”


More than 11,000 people signed a petition requesting that the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office drop the murder charge against Harris. The anonymous person who started the petition has since had it withdrawn citing recent evidence that suggests that what transpired may have been more than negligence.

According to the warrant filed against Harris via WSB-TV the following events are alleged to have transpired:

Harris placed his 22-month-old son, Cooper, in a rear-facing car seat after they ate at a Chick-Fil-A near his office the morning of June 19. Harris then drove the short distance to his office, less than a mile, the warrant said. The warrant also says Harris was seen going out to his car and opening the driver’s door to place something in his car at lunch.

In a written statement Wednesday police said:

“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. 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.”

FOX5 News out of Atlanta reports that Harris’ work computer was seized and that a source with law enforcement told them that someone searched for information on how long it takes for an animal to die in a hot car.

Harris initially told police that he forgot to drop his son off at daycare and left him in his scolding scalding car all day while he worked. He said he discovered his son as soon as he drove home after work that day.

The obituary for the deceased published Thursday via TuscaloosaNews acted as the family’s first public statement since Harris’ arrest. It read in part, “He was loved and cherished and protected by both parents and all family members for his short 22 months of life. His 22 months of life were the most happy and fulfilling times of his mother’s and father’s lives, and we will miss him greatly. The family rejoices in the fact that we know that our Cooper is in the arms of Jesus fully restored, protected and in perfect peace.”

With this tragic case having drawn national attention Cobb County Police Chief John Houser issued the following statement, “I fully understand the emotional impact this case has on the public, and as concerned citizens and parents everyone wants to know how this could happen… In fairness to everyone involved in this emotional case, I would ask that you not make conclusions based on rumor or suspicions and let our judicial system work as it is designed.”

web analytics