Police are investigating the possibility that the Atlanta toddler who died after being left in a hot car may have actually been murdered. It has led to more campaigners urging parents to check their backseats in the hot weather, and not be tempted to leave children or pets in the car even if the windows are cracked. Temperatures in the cars increase considerably, and children and animals cannot cope, even when in the shade.
Justin Ross Harris was taking his 22-month-old son to daycare on Wednesday morning. However, he went to work instead, claiming that he forgot about his daycare drop-off. The boy was in the car for seven hours in the heat. He has already been charged with first degree child cruelty and murder, but police believe that there are too many inconsistencies in his story to believe that it was accidental.
The Atlanta father phoned 911 at 4:20 pm and was hysterical about his actions. However, Cobb County Police Sergeant Dana Pierce said that he could not confirm if the child had been in the car since 9 am, which is something the father claims. Harris only noticed the child when driving home from work, and first responders at the scene claim that the responses to their initial questions did not completely make sense. At first it could have been due to Harris being hysterical that he had left his toddler in the car and killed him, but police now wonder if there was something more.
Police now believe that the Atlanta toddler left in the hot car may have been murdered. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed as an autopsy is still to be carried out. Authorities seem to suspect that there was foul play, and the 91 degree heat in Atlanta on the day was the perfect excuse to cover the tracks.
One thing that does not make sense is why the daycare staff never called to know the whereabouts of the child if he was expected. It is also strange that a parent can forget about his own child for seven hours, knowing the heat outside and the heat in the car. Unfortunately, it does happen. Just last month in South Carolina, Richie Gray left his 13-month-old daughter in the car forgetting to take her to daycare. The little girl did not survive the 90 degree heat on the day, and he explained that it was due to her being asleep and the lack of sound put his brain “on autopilot.”
According to Kids and Cars, there have been 13 heat stroke deaths in 2014 alone up until June 19. This is from parents leaving their children in the car, where the heat can be as much as 125 degrees when it is just 70 degrees outside.
It has led to a campaign for parents to check the backseat. For those who are prone to forgetfulness, it is best to leave something needed in the backseat, such as a briefcase or phone. The child will be spotted when grabbing those items.
This is an unimaginable loss, and parents who have caused deaths of children in this way hold the guilt forever. However, there seems to be something more to the most recent story. Police believe that the Atlanta toddler may have been murdered, but an autopsy is needed to confirm this.
By Alexandria Ingham