Cooper Harris, the 22-month old who died of hyperthermia after being left inside a hot vehicle for seven hours, tested negative for any drugs or poisons, the official toxicology report stated. The boy's father has been charged with murder and child cruelty but pleaded not guilty; his mother has obtained her own attorney pending possible charges.
Cooper's death was "consistent with hyperthermia" and the investigation "suggests the manner of death is homicide," officials stated. The boy was found inside the vehicle still inside his too-small car seat and with scratch marks on his face, suggesting that he struggled to get out of the seat.
Officials tried to recreate the scene of Cooper's death earlier this week in order to gain more insight into what happened that fateful day. They measured the temperature at key times in the day, such as when Harris pulled into the parking lot at Home Depot, where he worked, and left Cooper. They also checked the temperature three hours later, when Cooper's father Justin put light bulbs inside the vehicle and left; and again, four hours later, when Harris drove off with Cooper dead in the back seat.
Initially, investigators and the public thought that Justin Harris had merely forgotten his son in the car, leading to an outpouring of support. But in recent days, the public has turned on Justin due to facts being released by the police, including that Justin was sexting with multiple women while his son was in the back seat of the vehicle; that he performed internet searches of how long it would take children to die in a hot vehicle; and visited several websites that show people dying as well as how to live a child-free life.
Cooper's mother Leanna has come under suspicion due to her reaction to her son's death and her behavior in the days following the loss. She has now hired her own attorney, though there has been no charges formally brought against her.
"She needs advice from a trained professional," Paul Holloway, a criminal defense lawyer told the Daily Mail. "But the public shouldn't presume guilt because she has legal representation now. Innocent people are accused all the time. Getting advice from an attorney is the prudent thing to do."
Home Depot has released Justin from his job but paid for Cooper's funeral out of a charity fund from their organization.