ATLANTA — The investigation of a toddler’s death in a hot SUV in Georgia hinges on a key question: Was the boy the victim of a horrific accident after his father simply forgot to take him to day care, or did the man know the child was inside when he left him strapped in for seven hours?
An arrest warrant supporting the murder charge against the father states that 33-year-old Justin Ross Harris stopped with his son for breakfast and also returned to put something inside his vehicle around lunchtime while the child was inside it.
Harris has told police he was supposed to drive his 22-month-old son to day care but drove straight to work on June 18 without remembering the boy was strapped in his seat until the ride home. After spending the day at work, he pulled into a shopping center parking lot and hysterically asked for help for his son.
Harris was being held without bond Wednesday. Jail records didn’t list an attorney for him.
The new warrant filed late Tuesday also downgrades one charge Harris from first-
degree child cruelty to second-degree child cruelty.
Harris put the toddler in a rear-facing car seat in the center of the back seat of his Hyundai Tucson after eating at a Chick-fil-A restaurant the morning of the boy’s death, the new warrant says. He then drove to work and left the child strapped into the car seat when he went inside, the warrant says.