Father accused of leaving child in car charged with murder

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Cobb County, GA (WGCL) – A father has been charged with murder in the death of his 2-year-old child after he allegedly left the toddler in a hot car for eight hours.

Police said Justin Ross Harris, 34, was supposed to drop the child off at daycare, but forgot. He then drove to work around 9 a.m. Wednesday and left the toddler in the car. It wasn’t until Harris left work and started driving home that he looked in the backseat and saw the child still strapped in the car seat and unresponsive.

A witness saw Harris pull into the Akers Mill Square shopping center, stop his car straddling two lanes of traffic, jump out and begin CPR on the toddler.

Harris is charged with murder and cruelty to children, both felonies and is currently being held without bond at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center.

Anyone with information about this case which may assist detectives is asked to call (770) 499-3945.

By Mandi Milligan

70 comments

  • Tamasha

    Work or not, to leave any child in a vehicle unattended for hours is totally absurd! As a parent, our children’s existence lie in our hands. We must treat their lives previously. This father failed his child. As a responsible parent, your #1 priority is your child’s well-being, everything else aside job included. You see this guy does have this to live with for the rest of his life. But his child can’t wake up another day. He can though.
    He is fully responsible for his child’s death. And after 8 long, tender hours of his child being forgotten in a vehicle with temperatures well into the hundreds, this man child obviously never crossed his mind or else an alarm would have gone off in his head, and he would have panicked sooner.
    I mean come on dad, forget to go to work not your child. That’s inexcusable! Murder is murder whether voluntary or involuntary.
    No more suffering for the little guy, at least I can say.
    #PATHETIC

    • A Dawg

      Murder is murder. That’s when you plan (or help to) kill. There is no such thing as involuntary murder. The word you need to learn today is manslaughter.

      • TAMASHA

        Voluntary: w/ intent
        Involuntary: w/o intent
        And your word for today is RESEARCH
        Try pulling something out of a message that you can relate to or keep your mouth shut. That keeps down confusion.

  • Stephanie Meuer

    I think that he will have to live with it for the rest of his life, if he can even handle it. As a parent I can honestly understand how this might happen. I am always worried about something happening so its always on my mind and I am aware. Unlike the father its possible he doesnt take the child to Daycare everyday, kid might have been sleeping and totally didnt cross his mind. Life gets busy and through the chaos it does something to your brain and it doesnt necessarily work right. I am not a doc, but I tend to forget things when its crazy. I will be driving down the road and look in the back seat to make sure my kids are with me but again I am the mother its only natural. For dads I don’t believe its a natural action unless he does it all the time. It is his fault and should have known at some point through the day. But I think he will punish himself enough. I also believe he isnt any harm to anyone so why waste tax payers money.

  • lostachild

    Sadly, for the child, for the father and for the mother – and anyone who loved this child – this was a horrible, tragic ‘accident.’ It was NOT premeditated. As a parent who has lost a child (although not under these circumstances) I can tell you that this father will suffer every day for the rest of his life in a way no one can imagine unless they have done the same thing.

    I am not downplaying the horrific way this child died. That will just make the father’s sorrow greater. But, as a parent of a dead child, you NEVER, EVER forget. You NEVER, EVER ‘get over it.’ For this father – it will be a punishment worse than death! It will equal the suffering of his dead son (and just thinking about what this child must have endured gave me a very sleepless night).

    I think that many ‘perfect’ people on this blog don’t realize that a person CAN go into ‘auto mode’ – or perhaps taking the child to daycare was out of his routine. Who knows? But, we ARE HUMAN and we can and do make mistakes and anyone is capable of having a lapse in judgement – and some of those lapses in judgement wreak horrendous consequences – like this one did.

    Did he commit murder?? I think not. Should he be prosecuted? I think not. Should he be punished? HE WILL BE – every single day he is alive and breathing. He will punish himself – because he will never forgive himself. He must wake up each day and realize his son won’t wake up or grow up. When we lose parents we lose our past – when we lose our children – we lose our future. This father’s future is forever changed – and he will forever – until his own death – regret, grieve, cry…..

    So, if you are a ‘non-parent’ or a ‘perfect parent’ and screaming for VENGEANCE – ‘vengence is mine – I shall repay’ says God. God also forgives – in a large way. Can we forgive ourselves? Not always.

  • Julie

    I don’t understand how he forgot…kids are always on my mind! however, stress can get in the way. Those two professional people did the same thing from a communication error and walked free. What makes this man any different?

  • BC Jones

    I don’t know… but…. EVERY TIME I get in or out the car I ALWAYS glance in the backseat… just to get a mental picture in case my car is broken into, stolen etc…. it’s a safety thing. So I definitely cannot understand anybody not glancing in the back seat before and after getting in and out of the car. Man or woman doesn’t matter. The way some people in this world have become with elevators that skip floors without ever reaching the top, being aware of surroundings should always be a common practice for the rest of us. lol

  • Lori Childers

    Its too bad that someone didn’t call to make sure the boy arrived at day care allright. That might of saved the poor little guy. Just a shame this happened. The dad will live with this forever, I think that’s probably punishment enough. God bless all of the family.

  • Larry Lewis

    A horrible tragedy of course. But to charge and worse still, hold without bond the parent of this child is an even greater tragedy. He will have to live with this mistake the rest of his life. That alone is punishment enough. He needs to be with his wife during this tragic time. There is nothing to be gained by prosecuting the father for his childs death.

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