Autopsy: Boy's Death in Hot Car Looks Like Homicide

But police aren't revealing more specifics

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 25, 2014 8:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – The autopsy on the Atlanta toddler who died after being left in a hot car is out, and while it doesn't seem to shed much light on what happened, police are sticking by their decision to charge dad Justin Ross Harris with murder. "The Cobb County Medical Examiner believes the cause of death is consistent with hyperthermia and the investigative information suggests the manner of death is homicide," says a police statement. It adds that the ME's office is still awaiting toxicology results to determine the "cause and manner of death." An example of the mixed messages in coverage: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that County Police Chief John Hauser says it wasn't a case of simple negligence, while CNN quotes a police spokesperson saying, "I honestly don't have an answer for that question" when asked whether authorities think it's malice or negligence.

The hyperthermia finding isn't surprising because it means the boy's body temperature rose above 98.6 degrees and stayed there, and by all accounts the boy was left in the car for seven hours on a day that hit 90 degrees. In an earlier development today, police revealed that Harris had driven to his job at Home Depot with Cooper in the back seat after stopping for breakfast at a restaurant about a half-mile away. Harris also returned to the vehicle at lunch time and opened the driver's side door. MyFox Atlanta, meanwhile, is out with a report from an anonymous police source that says investigators seized Harris' work computer and found that someone had looked up how long it takes for an animal to die in a hot car. The report hasn't been confirmed. As for the boy's mother, police have interviewed her and told her not to speak to reporters.

Justin Ross Harris, in a photo released by the Cobb  County (Ga.) Sheriff's Department.
Justin Ross Harris, in a photo released by the Cobb County (Ga.) Sheriff's Department.   (Ga.) Sheriff's Department)
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