The mom of a toddler who died after his father left him all day in a hot car told police that she researched child deaths in hot cars, according to new documents from police. The mother is being questioned after a warrant revealed she researched similar vehicle tragedies. The documents were released the day after the funeral for 22-month-old Cooper Harris was held in University Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
According to USA Today, Leanna Harris hasn’t been charged in the death of her son, 22-month-old Cooper. “But a search warrant released Sunday said the woman went onto the Internet before the child’s death to search for information about children dying in cars,” USA Today said. Police say Cooper died after being left in the backseat of an SUV by his father June 18.
The mother’s husband, Justin Harris, is accused of the toddler’s murder and is being held without bail in Cobb County, Ga. According to police warrants released Saturday, Harris, 33, told police he searched child deaths inside vehicles and “what temperature it needs to be for that to occur” because he “was fearful that this could happen.”
According to newly released warrants, the mother, Leanna Harris, told police she did the same thing by searching the Internet for hot car deaths.
“Leanna Harris, the child’s mother was also questioned regarding the incident and made similar statements regarding researching in car deaths and how it occurs,” read the warrant.
Leanna Harris has not been taken into custody or listed as a suspect by police based on Internet searches for hot car deaths.
She and her husband spoke to the public for the first time when they addressed mourners Saturday at Cooper’s funeral, according to ABC News affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta. Harris called from the Cobb County Jail and spoke via speaker phone, thanking those who have supported him, according to WSB-TV.
Leanna Harris also spoke to mourners and called her husband a “great father,” according to WSB-TV.
Justin Harris has pleaded not guilty to the charges of leaving his toddler in a hot car, which led to his child’s death.
According to police, Harris left Cooper in his car when he went to work around 9:30 am June 18. Harris told police he forgot to drop Cooper off at daycare after he had breakfast at Chik-Fil-A restaurant and did not notice his son was in the backseat until around 4:30 p.m. when he was driving to drinks with friends.
When he noticed his son in the back seat, he said he immediately stopped the car and attempted to perform CPR. Witnesses told police Harris was yelling “Oh my God what have I done” as he pulled his son out of the car.
Cooper was pronounced dead after emergency personnel arrived.
As previously reported by NewsOXY, hot car deaths are at all time high levels. According to one study, 49 children died in 2010 of heatstroke within a hot vehicle. About 494 children have died since 1998 from being left in a hot vehicle.