As a parent I am having trouble reading the research for this article. And even more trouble writing it. Children are frustrating. That is the one thing I pass on to any new mom. Patience is something you have to have when you’re a parent, especially the parent of a child who can’t talk to communicate their needs. I can’t say that as they get older it gets any easier because when they do learn to communicate they tend to have their own little personality which can have different tones and attitudes. But no matter what my kids have dished out at me I have never wished them dead or tried to kill them.
Parents get frustrated with their children all the time. Don’t hold it against them. Being a parent is the MOST difficult job in the world and no matter how educated you are you can never be prepared for being a parent and we all have our moments where we break down. If you had a conversation with me last night you would think I was gonna hurt my kids but that is not the case with me. I can ‘t imagine a life without my kids. That is not the case when it comes to the parents of Cooper Harris of Georgia.
On June 18 a hot Georgia summer day little Cooper got up and went out to breakfast at McDonald’s with his dad, Justin. Cooper was just about 2 months shy of his 2nd birthday the day he lost his life. After they left McDonald’s Justin Ross Harris strapped Cooper into his car seat and proceeded to drive to work instead of heading to day care where Cooper would normally go. He left Cooper in the car and headed to his desk and acted as if everything was fine. While he was at work he sent KIK messages to 6 different women, one of whom was only 17 (16 when she first started talking to Justin) some of the messages included pics of genitalia and breasts. Justin left his desk for lunch and went down to his car. He did not render aid to his son who was most likely dead at that point in time. After lunch he went back to work and continued with his day. When he left work he drove to a nearby shopping center and pulled his dead son out of the car as if he was shocked to see this had happened. By standers at the scene said he was acting weird while another person did CPR on his son.He never called 911 to report his child was dead or that he thought he was dead or in need of aid. At the scene he was more concerned about his job and never showed any emotion over the fact his son was laying on the ground lifeless. He made statements that police felt were odd. He wondered why this was happening to him and that he was going to be charged with a felony and he was going to lose his job. He made attempts prior to questioning to try and get himself worked up to seem emotional but it didn’t work.
When Cooper’s mother arrived that evening to the daycare center to pick him up she was told he was never dropped off. Immediately she said “Ross must have left him in the car” the workers and other people at the center tried to tell her that there has to be some other explanation as to why Cooper wasn’t there but she kept saying that he had to have been left in the car. Now as a parent who has had kids in day care that would not be my first or only thought if I got there and found out my kid wasn’t in day care as they were supposed to be. I would immediately pick up the phone and call to find out if they were in an accident or to find out if they decided to have a father son day or something like that. I wouldn’t immediately assume that my kid had been left in a car and take that as the ONLY possibility as she had done unless I already knew what was going on and knew that my son was dead or that my son was going to be left in the car.
As the investigation started with the intent to clear Justin and label the death of Cooper as an accident, the police found that this was in fact an intentional homicide. It was during their investigation that they found his conversations with 6 women during the day his son was dying in the car, they found that he had done research on the computer at home and at work about how long it takes for a child to die in a hot car, hot car deaths, and they had taken out 2 different life insurance policies on their son. At this point they stand to gain $27,000 in the death of their son. From his jail cell, Justin gave instructions to his family on what they needed to do to obtain the money from the life insurance company.
The autopsy of Cooper revealed that he struggled to get loose from his seat before he gave in to the heat of the car. His car seat was at the tightest possible setting making it nearly impossible for Cooper to move and making it very uncomfortable for him to even sit there in the car if he wasn’t going to be left there all day. His body had scratches on the face where he scratched himself trying to grab the straps that were near his shoulders and there were abrasions on the back of his head from his squirming in the seat trying to wriggle free. This little boy fought for his life. He wanted to live and he did everything he could to survive.
In the weeks since his passing it has come to light that BOTH parents researched children deaths in cars. BOTH parents had life insurance policies on Cooper. His mother told the police that she knew her husband was cheating on her and they were having intimacy issues. She was overheard asking him at the police station if he had “said too much” to the police in his interview. What could he possibly have said too much about? Their plan to “accidentally” leave their only child in a car all day while he went to work so they can go about their lives? They found that Justin had also researched child free lifestyles. These “parents” did not want this child and the evidence is starting to show that. They were having financial troubles (their own admission).
There is a possibility that this can turn into a death penalty case. The prosecution has not gotten to the point in their case yet to state whether or not they want to seek the death penalty but I think they might go for it. At this point the mother has not been charged but she is being investigated to see if she did play a part in the death of her son. I am hoping that charges are brought against her in the near future.
So far in 2014 there have been 15 deaths of infant heat stroke from being left in cars. In 2013 there was a total of 44 deaths. This is unacceptable. There should be no reason why a parent leaves their child in a car. Some have been accidental, some have been just bad parenting like not having baby sitters and going to job interviews or going to the store and not taking the kids in with them… there are many excuses for why people have done what they did. But no excuse can forgive the death of a child.