A Georgia man who left his 22-month-old son in the back of a sweltering SUV while he was at work for seven hours has been charged with murder, police said Thursday.
Justin Ross Harris, 33, was being held without bond in the Cobb County jail, and faces an additional felony charge of cruelty to children in the first degree.
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On Wednesday, when the deadly incident occurred, temperatures in metro Atlanta reached a high of 91 degrees.
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Harris was supposed to bring his son to daycare in the morning before he arrived for work at 9 a.m. ET, reported NBC affiliate WXIA.
Around 4 p.m., Harris left his job and was driving home in his Hyundai Tucson when he realized the infant was still strapped in the car seat, police said.
Witnesses saw him pull over in a shopping center in Atlanta.
He “hopped out of the driver’s seat, opened the back door and laid [the infant] on the concrete and tried to resuscitate him,” one witness told WXIA.
Witnesses also told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the man appeared distraught and was screaming.
“What have I done? What have I done?” they heard him scream. “I’ve killed our child.”
Harris reportedly had to be handcuffed when officers arrived. Medical personnel attempted CPR, but were unable to revive the child.
Officials didn’t immediately identify the victim. An autopsy will be conducted to determine his exact cause of death, said Cobb County Sgt. Dana Pierce.
— Erik Ortiz