COBB COUNTY, Ga. - The man who is accused of leaving his child in a hot car has been charged with murder.
Justin Ross Harris, 33, was charged with felony murder and cruelty to children in the first degree. He is being held at the Cobb County Jail with no bond Thursday.
According to Cobb County police, Harris was supposed to take his 22-month-old to day care around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Police said the father forgot and left his child inside his vehicle while he went to work.
"Apparently, he forgot the child was in the car seat in the back of the automobile and went to work, left work sometime around 4 or 4:15," said Sgt. Dana Pierce of the Cobb County Police Department.
After leaving work and making the discovery, Harris pulled into Akers Mill Square near Cumberland Mall.
Dale Hamilton witnessed the emotional scene as a father realized that his child was in the car.
"I wish I could have done something, but there's nothing that could be done," Hamilton said.
Investigators said while officers were patrolling the area, they saw a crowd of people gathered around a blue Hyundai Tucson. When officers began to investigate, they saw a child lying on the ground.
"Laid his son on the ground, started doing CPR trying to resuscitate him. Apparently the child wasn't responding," Hamilton said.
Police said Harris had to be physically restrained once it became clear his child was gone.
"There were a number of witnesses, passersby in the area who observed basically the father in a very distressed moment," Pierce said.
"He kept saying, ‘What have I done? What have I done?’ And that's all that I could ascertain that he was saying," Hamilton said.
According to the investigators, the temperature in the area was 88 degrees.
The child was pronounced dead at the scene.
Harris works at the Home Depot headquarters. The company released the following statement:
"Like the rest of our community, we're deeply saddened by this tragic loss. We continue to work with authorities on their investigation and grief counselors are available for our associates who request assistance."
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