The steps of all parties are being very closely scrutinized in the wake of a tragedy that has a nation mourning the hot car death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris on June 18 in Cobb County, Georgia. CNN's Victor Blackwell has reported on July 10 that investigators are now retracing the steps of all parties, and investigating the details of what happened every hour inside the vehicle while Cooper Harris died. CNN footage obtained video from WAGA today that reveals that the vehicle of the hot car death in question remains in exactly the same location as it was in on the day in question, and is still being treated as a crime scene three weeks later.
Felony murder and child cruelty are the charges facing Justin Ross Harris today. His wife, Leanna Harris, has not been charged in connection with the death of her son. The forensics of the vehicle in question will play a large role in the next stage of the investigation of this case.
Joseph Scott Morgan, forensics scholar with Jacksonville State University told CNN today that in this part of the investigation, investigators will be simulating recorded temperatures on the day in question. He also estimated that it could have gotten as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit in the vehicle where 22-month-old Cooper Harris fell victim to his hot car death.
Morgan suspects that a video timeline will be developed using heat sensors to monitor the temperature levels in the vehicle, and how they peaked or waned during a similar timeframe to the day in question. He stated the purpose of this type of investigation is to "paint a graphic picture of what the child went to and how horrific this death was."
In addition to the forensics inside the vehicle, and a recreation of the timeline of events that day, investigators are hoping to answer many of the unanswered questions regarding the hot car death of Cooper Harris. CNN experts suggest today that by simulating the timeline that Cooper Harris experienced that day, they will be able to fill in many parts of the timeline according to Justin Ross Harris and Leanna Harris that just do not add up.
Law enforcement authorities testified at the probable cause hearing for Justin Ross Harris on July 3 that they suspected the story of Ross Harris "was not the truth" from the moment they opened the vehicle door on the day in question. Since then, investigators have been trying to find out exactly what happened on the day that 22-month-old Cooper Harris died, and what parties were directly involved.
Justin Ross alleges that he simply forgot to drop his son off at daycare and accidentally left him in the car while he was at work all day. Leanna Harris has made some very peculiar statements as well.
What is the actual timeline of events that this parent underwent on the day in question? It is this evidence that is among the most damaging evidence to date.
ABC News has reported their version of the timeline of events of the day in question, based on evidence provided at the probable cause hearing, and reported surveillance video of the accused. Justin Ross Harris alleges that he ate breakfast with his son as he usually does, at the Chick Fil-A restaurant in Cobb County, this has been confirmed by video surveillance.
Video surveillance shows Justin Ross Harris strapping 22-month-old Cooper Harris into a rear facing car seat at 9:19 AM that morning. At 9:25 AM video surveillance showed the same vehicle parked in the back of the parking lot at Home Depot where Justin Ross Harris worked.
Video surveillance also illustrated some parking behavior that some have found to be unusual. ABC reports that the surveillance video shows Harris "pulling into the parking lot of his work the morning of the incident." This would be sometime between 9:19 AM and 9:25 AM, however long it takes to drive the two-tenths of a mile from the Chick Fil A to the corporate office of Home Depot in Marietta, GA.
According to ABC, the video shows that when Ross Harris arrived to work that morning, he "passes a parking space, backs up the vehicle several feet and then pulls into a parking space near the back of the lot. Harris then exits the vehicle and walks into his office building."
At 12:42 PM the next Justin Ross Harris spotting would occur on video surveillance during his lunch hour. Ross Harris is spotted being dropped at his own car, by another co-worker. Ross allegedly goes over to the driver side door and puts something his car. It has since been reported by many media outlets following the story that it was a bag of light bulbs that Ross allegedly put in his car at that time.
At Justin Ross Harris's probable cause hearing, Detective Stoddard the lead investigator on this case testified that Cooper Harris would have already died by then, according to the Medical Examiner on the case. Stoddard also testified that Harris "failed to tell the investigators" about this part of the timeline in his day.
The Toronto Relationships Examiner previously reported on a phone conversation that occurred between Justin Ross Hunter at 4 PM that day and his wife Leanna Harris. Detective Stoddard testified about that call,
"Around 4:00, he [Justin Ross Harris] receives a phone call from his wife, Leanna. They play phone tag, he receives one, misses it, he calls her back and he calls her a third time and actually gets through to her. And they have about a minute – little over a minute phone call, phone conversation."
One of the questions raised since that testimony came to light was, what where they talking about? Ross had already been to his car that day.
Was it something important, is that why no voicemails were left, but instead transpired into an urgent play of phone tag?
Or was it something simple like, "just going to the movies" type of husband and wife call that the defendant's story alleges. No voicemails are available for that phone tag, but why? What did they talk about?
Nancy Grace for HLN reported on the rest of the timeline for Justin Ross Harris that day. At 4:16 PM video surveillance will show Justin Ross Harris leaving the Home Depot parking lot. He then has to travel through 7 traffic lights, each with their own video surveillance camera, before he pulls into Acres Mills Shopping Center.
This is when it is alleged that Justin Ross Harris got out of his car and pulled Cooper Harris out and began the process that has led to his charges today. Justin Ross Harris was witnessed on his phone during this time frame. Global News reported on July 9 that it is listed on the new set of 56 warrants issued in this case that a witness reported that,
"When someone came to assist Justin he stopped providing medical attention to the child and started making calls on his cellphone."
According to Global News Stoddard further testified that when law enforcement officers arrived, Justin Ross Harris refused to get off his phone, and "used profanity" when he was being arrested.
Detective Stoddard testified that Ross Harris never called 911 that day, though he was seen on his cell phone in the time frame after 4:16. He also testified that not only did he not call 911 that day, he did not call anyone in that time frame. So Justin Ross Harris was not actually on the phone with anyone when he allegedly yelled at officers and refused to get off the phone.
Stoddard testified that this occurred in the "5 PM area". He also testified that while this was happening, Leanna Harris was arriving at the Apron Strings Daycare Center at 4:51 P.M. According to Detective Stoddard, this is what happened,
"Once she walked into the daycare, she walked into Cooper's classroom, where she ran into Michelle. And she asked, you know, what are you doing here? And Leanna is like, "i'm here to pick up Cooper." And they're like, "Ross never dropped Cooper off." And she's like -- just got really calm. And she's like, well, i don't know what to do. They walked back out into the lobby and, in front of several witnesses, all of a sudden she states, "Ross must have left him in the car." And they're like, what? There's no other -- no other reason -- no other explanation, excuse me. "Ross must have left him in the car." And they tried to console her. And they're like, "No, you know, there's a thousand reasons. He could have taken him to lunch or something. We don't know yet." And she's like no."
What really happened in those 7 hours is what investigators are trying to piece together before Justin Ross Harris appears before a Grand Jury, a date yet to be determined as this evidence is collected.
The behavior of Leanna Harris on the day in question has since been under the microscope, with a lot of very common sense questions coming up. The hot car death of Cooper Harris is one tragedy that Leanna is dealing with, but another is the infidelity in her marriage.
At Justin's probable cause hearing it became revealed that Justin Ross was allegedly sexting as many as 6 other women during that 7 hour period, one of them allegedly a minor. The computers and all technology that either of the Harris's have used prior to the death of their son have all been seized during this investigation under the latest series of 56 warrants.
What are they going to find?
Was Justin Ross Harris the only one looking to live a child free and baby free life? Or was Leanna part of this as has been suggested?
Since this case has received international attention, disturbing details of the double life of Justin Ross Harris have been exposed. In addition to a Skout account where he told prospective daters that he was "harmless", News Australia is reporting that tweets from over a year ago potentially provide even more damaging evidence against Justin Ross Harris.
According to News Australia, someone named Ross Harris wanted to invent something that could be referred as "Snooze buttons on babies." A tweet on September 11 of 2013 from an account listed as @rossharris, with the name Ross Harris, and with the picture shown above reads,
"@Andrewosenga NEW INVENTION: Snooze buttons on babies. I'm going to be a billionaire #shutupandtakemymoney"
The tweet was favorite by two, and retweeted by one.
It has been reported in some places that Leanna Harris had no idea of her husband's double life, and that she found out about it at the probable cause hearing with the rest of the world. It's in her best interest to say that, if she knew about it before Cooper's death, she would have a motive to set Ross Harris up for something like this.
Leanna Harris has not been charged with anything, but many are speculating that she either master-minded the entire thing, or colluded with Ross Harris to live a child-free life.
It was reported yesterday that Leanna Harris visited her husband in the Cobb County Jail, and stayed for a total of 36 minutes. Many think that is normal behavior as the wife in a relationship who is grieving the loss of their child together.
Would you visit a man in prison after finding out that he was sexting multiple people behind your back, one of them allegedly, reportedly, a minor?
Would you visit a man in prison if he might be held criminally responsible for the death of the only child you have?
USA Today reported yesterday that as part of normal operating procedure at the Cobb County Jail Leanna Harris was also photographed and fingerprinted during her 36 minute visit. Maybe she didn't even visit Justin Ross Harris, maybe she was asked to go as part of the ongoing "fluid" investigation. It is equally reasonable to speculate that she did visit, or try to, visit Justin Ross Harris. Maybe she wanted to have some questions answered herself from the man who may be held criminally responsible for the death of her son.
Or maybe she just wanted to know some mundane wifely details and information so that she could take care of things in his absence like, where the insurance papers are.
There are as many possibilities why Leanna Harris was at the Cobb County Jail yesterday, as there were possibilities available to her when she arrived at the daycare center on June 18 to pickup her son and said, "Ross must have left him in the car."
If it was your man, and your child, would you visit him? What about this case bothers you the most? The sexting? The odd reactions of the mother?