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Was Toddler Death Accident or More Sinister?

Aired June 24, 2014 - 19:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Breaking news tonight: highly disturbing new information coming in in the death of a 2-year-old toddler whose dad

claimed he accidentally left him inside his blazing hot car.

Our affiliate WSB is reporting tonight that cops now believe something far more sinister happened, that the dad knew all along -- knew all along that

his son was trapped in a car seat inside his car in the boiling heat all day long.

We are also just hearing that manner and cause of death will be released tomorrow.

Police began to doubt the dad`s story early on and have charged him with felony murder. But we still don`t know what evidence they may have to back

up the murder charge and hold him without bond.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live. Thanks for joining me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Left him in the back of his SUV while he went to work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pulled his child out, laid him on the concrete, tried to resuscitate him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first, police said the 33-year-old father made a terrible mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Claims he simply forgot to drop Cooper off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is impossible for this to have been intentional.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It didn`t take long for them to question his story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things are not always what they appear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems like it`s a rush to judgment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`ll be entering a plea of not guilty at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could feel his sorrow and his hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes police get it wrong.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is really a shocking development. One day after police called little Cooper Harris` death an accident, they announced they

could not confirm Dad`s story anymore. They charged Justin Harris with felony murder and child cruelty. He has pleaded not guilty.

Now, initially he told cops he simply forgot that his toddler son was strapped into a car seat inside the car at his work parking lot for seven

hours, approximately. Did he really forget about him, or did he purposely abandon his innocent little boy inside a torturous death trap?

The toddler`s funeral is now set for Saturday. Here`s a question: Do you think Daddy should be allowed to go?

Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297. Our Lion`s Den debate panel is ready to hash this out.

But first, straight out to Victor Blackwell, CNN correspondent, who has been all over this story.

Victor, so much shocking breaking news. What is the very latest?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Well, the latest, our affiliate reporting that evidence presented shows that it -- Harris

apparently knew his son had been left in the car.

We can also report tonight that two search warrants have been issued to search Harris` home for evidence for cops to begin to build this case. As

you said, we`re going to learn the manner and cause of death tomorrow.

We know that this autopsy was completed by the medical examiners. They have been waiting for toxicology reports. But for the past few days,

they`ve been working with the crimes against persons divisions to lock up this case and find out exactly what killed him, this young boy.

Now, we know from the investigator I spoke with last week, he said that what he knows about this case -- although he would not give specifics --

would shock the conscience of anyone listening. He says it shocks his conscience as a police officer, a father and a grandfather.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I mean, it is shocking. And I`m going to say it one more time, and then we`re going to get HLN law enforcement analyst Mike

Brooks to give us some insight into this. Because I know, Mike, you`ve been working the phones.

OK. Sources tell Channel 2 action news, WSB, that there is evidence that Justin Ross Harris, 33, knew his son was in the backseat of his car. Mike,

what kind of evidence do they look for in a situation like this?

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via phone): What we`re learning from WSB tonight was reporting that, apparently, he went to the car during

the day. So what evidence would they have of that?

Well, Jane, we also know that they served a search warrant at his work there at Home Depot. If I`m an investigator, and I`m trying to get a

search warrant for his office, I`m going to be checking on his computer. I`m going to be checking also surveillance cameras as they have there at

Home Depot.

So we don`t know exactly what evidence they had that he went back to his car and possibly also maybe witnesses. But, Jane, it`s not looking good

for him right now if these are all true.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s stunning. It`s absolutely stunning. Look at that precious, precious child. It`s hard to comprehend -- there is a happy

family, apparently, seemingly. It`s hard to wrap your brain.

Dr. Tiffanie Davis-Henry, HLN contributor/psychologist right now. We need a psychologist right now. It`s hard to wrap your brain around the concept

that police believe that they have evidence that this dad knew his son was inside the car.

You know, they estimate that the temperature inside that car reached 125 degrees. We`re talking seven hours strapped in a car seat?

DR. TIFFANIE DAVIS-HENRY, PSYCHOLOGIST: Right. This is a 22-month-old. So he wasn`t able to kind of take his clothes off, unbutton his car seat,

get out, roll a window down. Nobody has the windows that roll down anymore. He was trapped in that car.

And unfortunately, it does seem like the dad knew that he was in that car all that time and -- and just left him there. And there`s no way to even

describe it.

I`m asked all the time, how can someone do something like this? This is a despicable human being. There is no rational reason why someone would do

something like this.

Of course we look at things like, maybe it`s revenge on the mother or maybe it`s an insurance money. But none of those reasons suffice to me. There`s

no reason something like this should have ever happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s say this: He has pleaded not guilty. He deserves his day in court. This information is coming out. It`s breaking news

right now. That`s why we have our breaking news banner up there.

It is so important to find out the dad has no prior criminal history. And neighbors called the Harrises an ideal couple, wonderful tenants.

But tonight a lot of people are wondering, why hasn`t the mother of this dead toddler said a single word to defend her husband of six years? It

seems like she`s gone underground.

Now, Wendy Murphy, there`s the family in happier times. Do you have any thoughts about the fact that this mom, the mother of this precious child

who died a horrible, horrific death, the wife of this man, who has now been charged with felony murder, has not said a word?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes, I`ll tell you exactly why, because it`s been reported, and it makes perfect sense to me. She`s been told by

law enforcement to clam up which tells me she knows a lot.

So she may be a cooperating witness. She may have things to say that, if she tells us so that we can understand this outrageous, disgusting -- I

won`t call it a tragedy -- vicious death of a child, she knows why. And if she tells, that could undermine this child`s justice. And we all need to

make sure that justice is served for this child who can`t speak for himself.

I tell you what else, Jane. I don`t agree that, just because he`s a seemingly good-looking guy with an adorable toddler kid, that he`s not the

type who might be motivated to kill. Who knows what he was involved in? What debts did he have? What was he doing with or about his child that had

to do with money? Did he need money? Was this child involved in some nefarious activity at his hand...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say, first of all, I don`t think he`s good-looking whatsoever, so I`m going to disagree with you on that. But I will say that

he has no financial problems. We went through his accurate. And there, by the way, is a -- look at a car. I don`t know the significance of it yet.

I do now. It is showing how hot it gets inside his car. So it was in the high 80s outside. But inside that car, it is so much hotter. So much

hotter. And the estimates are it reached 123, some say up to 130 degrees inside that car.

Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, it makes me sick. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of what this precious, innocent, helpless, voiceless child went

through inside that hot car over seven hours. Can you give us some insight as a forensic scientist, Dr. Kobi, of what that might have been like?

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST (via phone): Well, the body normally has a temperature-regulating mechanism. Either for cooling, you

will sweat, or in the case of you`re too cold, you shiver. Your body shivers.

Now, the overexposure to the heat in that vehicle just simply overwhelmed any kind of temperature-regulating mechanism. And what happens is, is the

person goes into shock, sometimes coma. There`s brain damage. And often there`s kidney failure, and death ensues.

It`s not a -- it`s not a pleasant death. I think that ultimately, we need to hear from the medical examiner. It`s the medical examiner that will

tell us about the cause of death, which presumably is heatstroke leading to death.

But the manner of death here is the key here. And it`s either going to be accident homicide, natural causes. I think we can safely rule out natural

causes. So the issue is accident or homicide. And that`s why the medical examiner wants to have more input from law enforcement or anybody else with


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let me say this, Dr. Kobi. There was a huge outpouring of support for him initially, something like $20,000 raised, a

petition saying, "Leave him alone. He`s suffered enough." Well, now things are changing.

We`re getting a lot of Facebook comments. Lupe says, "He`s a faker, and he shouldn`t have a kid." Joyce, "I am screaming out in agony.

Michael Yo, correspondent, "The Insider," you know, we cover these crimes where, again, we don`t want to convict this guy. He deserves his day in

court. But if what we`re hearing is true, that police say they`ve got evidence that he knew his son was in the backseat of his car -- and you

heard HLN law-enforcement analyst Mike Brooks expand on that hypothesis -- it`s -- it`s beyond comprehension. This is a toddler.

MICHAEL YO, CORRESPONDENT, "THE INSIDER": Yes. I mean, we all agree that this is an awful, awful person, and he murdered his child. But I have a

question, is why would you do it in this way? Why would you leave him in the car? There`s ways -- like this is not a malicious way to kill your

kid. Why would you have him in the car where people passing by could actually help the kid? So that`s the only question I have about this whole


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, wait...

YO: ... if he really wanted to murder his child. Why would he do it in a car where people in the public, where they could actually help this child?

MURPHY: To cover up the real reason. To cover up the real reason, to make it look like an accident, duh! I mean, that is such an obvious answer.

He wanted it to look like he was just a sad father who forgot to drop the kid off at day care, because that actually happens sometimes. And, you

know, he probably parked in a place where it was not -- you know, a location where people would see him going into Home Depot. I guarantee...

YO: At the beginning of the show -- at the beginning of the show, you talked about there were witnesses. Why didn`t any witnesses help this kid

in the back of the car, then?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It was too late. It was too late. Let me outline it. The dad worked as a web designer at a Home Depot corporate office. He

reportedly drove two miles on the way home after work before purportedly realizing, "Oops, my son is in the backseat, where he`s been for seven

hours since I went to work this morning and forgot to drop him off at day care."

Now, several people saw Justin Harris screech into a parking lot -- again, about two miles from his work -- and frantically snatched his motionless

toddler from the car seat. Listen to the completely different opinions about dad`s behavior.


LEONARD MADDEN, WITNESS: It is impossible for this to have been intentional. There`s no way it would have been intentional, especially

from the father`s reaction. You could feel his sorrow and his hurt because of the situation. I thought it was insanity for him to be charged with


VERONICA WATERS, WSB RADIO: In the words of a 25-year-old eyewitness, she thought that he was sort of play-acting on this. If this woman thought

that Harris seemed a little detached from what was going on, said that he had actually turned his back to what first responders were doing as they

tried to resuscitate little Cooper.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks, at that scene, that very, very crowded shopping center parking lot where everybody was

able to witness this display...

BROOKS: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... of -- it strikes one as odd that that is the moment that he would realize right where there`s that parking lot where he could

pull in and everybody could hear him screaming in grief, "What have I done? What have I done?" That`s how he was, according to witnesses, screaming.

BROOKS: Well, see, Jane, that`s why I wasn`t buying this story.

No. 1, you have a 22-month-old child who has been sitting in a car of over 120 degrees for seven hours. When he opens that door, he`s going to smell

a soiled diaper. He`s going to smell a child who`s starting to decompose. He`s going to smell a lot of things. He`s not going to get in there and

drive two miles to Akers Mill in Cumberland and then, where he has an audience now, to go ahead and say, "Oh, my God, what have I done?"

He would have pulled the child right there at the parking lot where he worked. Jane, he lives five miles away. You`re going to tell me that on

the way to work that morning, the little boy, who I`m sure didn`t strap himself into the car seat, that he didn`t turn around and look at the

little boy?

We did a re-enactment today on HLN, "ON THE CASE," and it`s a small Hyundai Tucson. There`s no way, no how he did not see that child in his rearview

mirror or in close proximity to him while he was in that car. I`m not buying his story. It`s B.S.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And on the other side of the break, we`re going to play that simulation that you were involved in doing. By the way,

Stacy says, "I did nearly forget my sleeping child once due to stress. I believe the guy." Greg on Facebook says, "He wanted it to look like he

forgot about his kid, and it was just an accident."

So is he a monster or is he a very, very, very forgetful dad? Cops are saying they have evidence.

OK. According to WSB -- WSB, our affiliate, is reporting that cops say they have evidence that he knew his child was in the car during the day as

the child roasted.

A discussion going on, again, on our Facebook page. We`d like to invite you to join in. Go to my Jane Velez-Mitchell Facebook. We have behind-

the-scenes pictures, exclusive content, and of course, we are just getting started on this. And we`re going to get to Debby, New York, on the other

side. Stay right there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopped out of the driver`s seat, opened the back door, pulled his child out, laid him on the concrete, tried to resuscitate him.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told investigators that he`d forgotten that he`d left the child in the car when he went to work. And then he only found him

seven hours later on the way home from work. But we`re learning from an officer with the Cobb County Police Department near Atlanta that a lot of

the details have changed since that tragedy on Wednesday.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That precious toddler dead. And this father apparently, seemingly a loving father up until this horrific story broke, accused of

felony murder.

And our affiliate, WSB, reporting that cops believe they have evidence that he was aware that his little toddler son was baking in a hot car for seven

long hours.

And what`s really fascinating is that there was a huge outpouring of support for this guy when the story first broke, and they said, "Don`t

charge him. Let him go. Don`t hold him without bond. This -- he`s suffered the worst punishment a human being can suffer, the loss of his

child. What are you doing?" They raised $20,000 for his defense.

Now things are changing. My gosh, on Facebook, Adam tells us, "They should put him in a hot car for eight hours with no water."

Let`s go out to the phone lines. Debby in New York, you`ve been waiting patiently. Debby, New York, what have you got to say?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. I have a comment and a question. My comment is, I didn`t believe it from the moment I heard it, that he forgot to drop his

child off at day care. I didn`t believe that. And my question is, when the child didn`t make it to day care, doesn`t someone at the day care call

mom or dad and say, "So-and-so is not here. Is he OK? Is he coming? Is he late?"

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that was my first question entirely. But because I don`t have children, I asked people who do, and they say, you know, some

day care dos that. Others don`t.

I want to go to Eboni K. Williams. Right now on Facebook, Haley is telling us, "Investigators should watch his behavior and the mother`s behavior at

the funeral."

He is being held without bond. The funeral is, we just learned, set for this Saturday. Should authorities release him to attend the funeral?

EBONI K. WILLIAMS, ATTORNEY: Jane, I think that they should. And the reason why is, you know, everybody`s kind of tried and convicted this guy

already. And it`s an unconscionable crime that he`s being accused of. But he hasn`t been convicted. That`s the truth, right? And right now in the

eyes of the law, he is innocent until proven guilty.

And what if, Jane, we are wrong? What if this father was as negligent as he claimed that he was, and he`s innocent of the murder of his son? How

awful that he would have been prevented from engaging in, you know, some closure, some emotional closure in saying good-bye to his son in that way.

So before we try and convict this guy in the court of public opinion, I do think that we have to take a moment of pause here and look for some

evidence. And you`re right, Jane, the detectives are saying they have that evidence. But let`s see what that evidence is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, first of all, I want to say, we`ve reached out to the attorney for this man. He is invited on any time. We want to get all

sides of the story. Do you agree, former prosecutor Wendy Murphy, he`s being held without bond on felony murder? Let him out to attend the


MURPHY: No. Why would you insult this poor child? I mean, OK, so you know, we may not have the whole story. But the police have already said

they`re charging him with murder, because the real facts are so disgusting they`re shocked, even the most senior cops. OK, let`s draw an inference

there and let`s remember, OK, you can`t give him back the visit to the funeral if we`re wrong. But we`re probably right. And who gives back that

child`s dignity if you let his killer come to the funeral and pretend to be sad?

WILLIAMS: But are officers never wrong? Are officers never wrong?

YO: He`s not guilty; he`s not guilty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead, Michael.

YO: I`m saying, you`re speculating. You`re throwing out all these speculations right now. You have no hard facts. And he`s not guilty as of

right now. If that changes before Saturday, absolutely 100 percent he shouldn`t go to the funeral. But he`s not guilty right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Victor -- Victor Blackwell, CNN correspondent, weigh in.

BLACKWELL: We`ve spoken to authorities, and thus far there`s been no request for Harris to attend the funeral. He`s not made a request to

attend it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that speaks volumes. HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks, you know, I remember when Jodi Arias attended Travis

Alexander`s funeral and her inappropriate, strange, really crazy behavior was really what set a lot of people off to point the finger at her

initially. Should they let him out just from a strategic standpoint to see how does he interact; how does he behave?

BROOKS: Absolutely not. I want to see how Mom`s going to be interacting and how she`s going to behave. Because in a statement from Cobb County

Police Department today, they were asked if she was cooperating. They wouldn`t comment. So she`s part of the investigation on exactly what


But -- but there`s no way that he is going to be getting out. And as Victor said, there`s been no request to the district attorney`s office in

Cobb County or to the sheriff`s office, who is the ones that are involved - - they would have to transport him. And they`re the ones that run the jail. No request as of yet.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think the big question is, whereas WSB is reporting that authorities believe that they have the evidence to show that

he knew his child was in a car, the big question, if that`s true, if, if -- what? Why? Why would he leave his child in a hot car? His precious

toddler, helpless and voiceless?

Stay right there. We`re going to try to answer that question on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Medical personnel arrived on the scene and determined the child apparently had been in the automobile -- the father`s automobile

since about 9 a.m. this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It wasn`t until the father was driving home from work, shortly after 4 p.m., that he noticed his son in the car seat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You ever have to witness something like that before in your life?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a first and hopefully a last.




SGT. DANA PIERCE, COBB COUNTY POLICE: Until we more or less run out a lot of the information that we are having to track down, right now these

charges will stand, and we`ll continue to look at this case in all aspects of it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thirty-three-year-old Justin Harris charged with felony murder in the death of his precious toddler, Cooper, and he said, "Oh, it

was an accident. I totally forgot that my son was in the backseat strapped in a car seat."

I have to say, cops don`t believe that story. They believe he knew. He was there parked for seven hours.

Let`s say this: this man first noticed, he says, little Cooper in his car seat nearly two miles into his ride home from work. Remember, he takes him

to work. Kid sits there in the car for seven hours. Then he drives him home.

Take a look at this demonstration inside the very same type of SUV this dad was driving.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the perspective of somebody just getting into the car to go into the driver`s seat, you can`t not notice the child seat in

the back, regardless of which position it is.

Once you get inside the Hyundai Tucson, which is the same kind of car that is the subject of this case, you really feel how confined it is. What`s

interesting is there is no way from any position, getting into the car or using your rearview mirror, there`s no way you don`t see a child seat in

the rear.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It was nearly 90 degrees in Atlanta the day this happened. A car sitting in the heat for seven hours can reach at least 125 degrees


Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, famed forensic scientist, wouldn`t the father have smelled something the very second he opened his car door? I mean, how long

would the child have survived of those seven hours? And what would have happened to possibly make the man notice when he opened the door at the end

of the day?

KOBILINSKY: I suspect the child would have succumbed to the intense heat probably within an hour.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: An hour? You`re saying this child probably died in the first hour?

KOBILINSKY: I -- I suspect that that is probably right.


KOBILINSKY: And you know, as far as decomposition is concerned, it is true. I mean, decomposition starts immediately but not to the point where

you`re going to be smelling the chemicals of decomposition. I just don`t think it would have -- seven hours is just not enough time for that to have


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me also stress that Joyce on Facebook is telling us, "While the father was driving to work, wouldn`t the kid be making

noises in the car? As he shut the door, wouldn`t the kid be crying?" In other words, I think he`s making an excellent point.

Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, he claims that he left home around 9 in the morning, forgot to drop his child off at day care, then proceeds to

work, leaves the child at work for seven hours, forgets that the child`s there, gets back in the car, doesn`t notice the child is motionless in the

car seat, and then drives two miles to a very busy shopping center where he suddenly, boom, a light bulb goes off, he pulls into the car -- do you buy


MURPHY: Not even a little. And, you know, I`ve had kids in the car seats in the back. And I do get forgetful sometimes even about them. I have to

say, I have a sensitivity to that issue, that even very good parents sometimes make dumb mistakes.

Here`s why I don`t buy it. Number one, the cops have said that the reason they have become very focused on this guy as a murderer and not a forgetful

father is because they think he lied. They have evidence to prove that the kid wasn`t even in the car at 9:00 a.m. that something happened during the

day and the father`s not only a liar but a killer.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we don`t know -- again, he`s pleaded not guilty. His attorney is invited on any time at all. We`re just getting started on


David, how did seven hours go by without checking on him wherever he was? Well, that`s what cops are saying, David on Facebook, that they believe

that he knew he was aware his child was in that car in that parking lot outside his office. What evidence do they have to back up that belief?

That`s what we`re getting into on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His answers and his responses when it first happened weren`t consistent, they didn`t make sense. They didn`t add up. So they

think there`s more to this. They`re looking at that child for any injuries that may have occurred prior to this death.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s fully aware of what he`s charged with and he`ll be entering a plea of not guilty at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Left him in the back of his SUV while he went to work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His 22-month-old son was dead, probably long before he tried to resuscitate him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopped out of the driver`s seat, opened the back door, pulled his child out, laid him on the concrete, tried to resuscitate him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leaving him inside the hot SUV for seven long hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What other evidence is there that would cause Cobb County to charge him with felony murder?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had been in the automobile -- the father`s automobile since about 9:00 this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Claims he simply forgot to drop Cooper off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seems like it`s a rush to judgment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking, shocking breaking news in the case of a 22- month-old toddler who died after being left to bake in his dad`s car, strapped into a car seat. There`s the father who tonight has been charged

with felony murder.

A Cops telling WSB, Channel 2 Action News, that they have evidence that this dad knew his son was in the back of his car during the day as the

child roasted away.

It`s a shocking development and we`ve got more new developments.

Out to Victor Blackwell, CNN correspondent, who`s been all over the story. You have new investigation just in about the behavior of this dad at the

scene when he finally leaves work, driving home and claims, "Oh, I just realized my son has been in the backseat all these hours," -- and pulls

into a shopping mall parking lot. What do you know?

BLACKWELL: Yes, Cobb County police tell me that after he pulled in and there was all that crying and screaming, "What have I done? What have I

done? -- that Harris started to scream and curse also at investigators there.

They started to ask him basic questions about the time line and what led up to his discovery of his child and they say the answers did not make sense.

And he became so unruly this officer tells me that they had to subdue him and put him in the back of the police car and that lasted for about 90

minutes on scene. They then took him to police headquarters where the questioning continued and there were inconsistencies and that`s where he

was officially arrested and charged with child cruelty in the first degree and felony murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Tiffanie Davis-Henry, psychologist, what is that tell you, that he began allegedly screaming at the investigators?

DAVIS-HENRY: Well, I think anytime we`re caught in a lie or caught in an untruth or don`t really have the right answer, we get a little defensive.

And I think that`s what we`re seeing here. And that this guy had so many stories lined up in his head he couldn`t get them straight. He`s getting

defensive. They`re asking appropriate questions, these are the questions that officers should be asking. And he doesn`t have answers that add up.

So, I think it was mere frustration on his part and the way to deflect that is to really lash out, ask the officers, hey, you`re not doing your job,

you`re not doing what you`re supposed to be doing, save my son, when really he was the one that was, you know, impeding justice.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Facebook exploding on this story. And the mood has changed. Yesterday, everybody seemed -- not everybody but a goodly

percentage of people were very sympathetic to this father. And now, the situation has turned with this new information. Sandy saying, "They should

look at his workplace, if there were pictures of him, wouldn`t that have reminded him of his child?"

Michael Yo, correspondent of "The Insider," you have covered so many of these crimes, when the authorities executed a search warrant? We don`t

know what their evidence is that they say that they have that shows the dad knew the child was in the car outside. What kind of evidence would point

to that?

YO: Well, I think, you know, conversations, text messages to the mother -- this is the whole thing. Where is the mom? We need to hear what the mom

has to say. What if there were phone calls? What if there were text messages? Do we know the child really died in the car? This is something

the police would know. And this is what they`re holding onto and they don`t want to let us know right now.

So, I`m interesting - I`m interested to find out what the mom knows, the text messages, the phone calls and did the child really die in the car?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Victor -- Victor Blackwell, I understand that you spoke to the mother -- the mother that everybody in the world wants to talk to, the

mother who`s been basically underground since this happened, the mother of the child?

BLACKWELL: Yes. As you said, we ran a search and her cell phone number was listed on that accurate search. And I called her and she said she`s

been told not to speak with the media. I then followed up and asked --


BLACKWELL: She would not elaborate. She wouldn`t say who was telling her not to speak with the media. But I followed up because they also see her

to the address, not only in Georgia but also in Alabama? So I asked, "Are you in Georgia or are y ou in Alabama?" And she became defensive and said,

"I don`t know why that would matter to you."

So she is not giving out that information. But the authorities tell me that they have continued to have some communication with this mother. They

cannot describe her involvement if any. But it is a line of this investigation that they`re following.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think it says a lot.

Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, that -- correct me if I`m wrong, Victor, the husband, the father, the one accused of felony murder, is in jail

without bond in Georgia and she`s in -- where did you say? Alabama?

BLACKWELL: She would not answer if she was in Georgia or Alabama. She just said, "I don`t know why that would matter to you."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the funeral this Saturday supposedly going to be in Alabama. (audio gap) if my husband of six years approximately was accused

of something terrible and I believed he was innocent, I`d be right outside that jailhouse trying to talk to him.

MURPHY: Not necessarily, Jane. If she knows things and she`s a cooperating witness, number one, good for her because too often the wives

stand by their bad guys. And that makes justice for the child impossible. We want moms to separate when bad stuff happens and cooperate.

Here`s an interesting issue. Why is the guy working four hours away? Where was the day care? This child`s body was in full rigor. When he was

removed from the car, his arms and legs were still bent up in the shape of the car seat which means he had been in there for at least three or four

hours since death.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Then, we`re hearing the day care was on the campus of his work. But I`ve also heard that it was - it was on the campus of his work -

- that makes it even stranger that he would forget.

Joana, if he was innocent, his mug shot would show his distress from crying over the death of his son. We`ve been looking at his mug shot. We are

going to continue to look at it. We have got other new information just coming in on the other side. Stay right there. We`ll be back with more.

Sarah, North Carolina, we`ll get to you on the other side.


SGT. DANA PIERCE, COBB POLICE: Apparently, he forgot the child was in the car seat in the back of the automobile and went to work, left work sometime

around 4:00, 4:15, only to discover the child or the infant of 22-month- old, in the backseat.




LEONARD MADDEN, WITNESS: It is impossible for this to have been intentional. There`s no way it would have been intentional, especially

from the father`s reaction. You could feel his sorrow and his hurt because of the situation. I thought it was insanity for him to be charged with



VELEZ-MITCHELL: But that sentiment changing tonight as cops reveal, through our affiliate WSB, that they feel something far more sinister went

on than an accidental oversight leaving this precious, precious 22-month- old boy to suffer a torturous, slow death inside a baking car as this man, his dad, worked as a web designer inside the Home Depot corporate office.

And it`s absolutely unbelievable now, the shocking breaking news tonight that Channel 2 Action News, WSB, saying, cops telling them that they have

evidence, that they say this guy knew his son was roasting to death in the backseat.

I want to go out to the phone lines, Sarah, North Carolina, you`ve been so patient. What do you have to say?

SARAH, NORTH CAROLINA: Yes, I believe that he is not innocent, he is guilty as charged. He -- no remorse on his face whatsoever. The mother is

hiding. It makes no sense to me. I wonder why he didn`t pay attention to his child crying for him as he closed the door and walked away.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I don`t know. I`m not a parent myself. But it certainly makes sense that a little baby, a toddler, 22 months old would

start crying or making noise if dad slams the door and just walks away.

Now, here`s a very important question as we have breaking news tonight that we just got from Victor Blackwell, that the father started cursing at the

investigators after he was crying, "What have I done? What have I done?" - - they start asking him tough questions, he starts cursing at them. And that`s why they originally put him in the squad car before ultimately

charge him with felony murder after executing a search warrant at his office. We don`t what evidence they found but something there, they say.

What does the condition of little Cooper`s body tell us about the terrible way he died? Listen to this report from Nancy Grace.


NINETTE SOSA, REPORTER, NEWS RADIO 106.7 (Voice-over): One witness says that when he pulled the child out of the car that the child remained in the

sitting position, which, is it possible that rigor mortis has already set in?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, fame forensic scientist, what would that tell you?

KOBILINSKY (via telephone): Well, the onset of rigor mortis is expected to happen over a time course. And it would give you an idea about when the

child actually died. And as I said, if he was in the car for seven hours, it would be consistent with the child dying sometime around -- after that

first hour and then six hours later, he would be in rigor. So, it`s consistent with what I`ve said.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re saying, your belief is that the child likely died about an hour into this seven-hour torture session where he`s strapped

into the car seat by himself unable to move and dad`s inside the workplace just a stone`s throw away and again cops are saying that they have evidence

-- this is through WSB -- that he knew the child was in the car.

And, Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor, that you have to play that out. Indeed if he`s there at this Home Depot satellite center working as a web

designer on the computer, working as a web designer, aware, if, that his child is outside as the temperature keeps going up in a car that could have

reached 125, 130 degrees inside, that is a sadism that I can`t even comprehend.

MURPHY: Yes, roasting your child to death like a chicken in an oven is just repulsive beyond words. Here`s the thing, though, let`s not get too

far ahead. I think we`re going to find out something freaky about this guy. This is not all that it appears to be. That child could well have

died and we know it from video and so forth because the father in the middle of the day did something, put him in that car, knew he was there,

shut the door and went into work to let the child roast.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is not confirmed. We`re going to get the autopsy results tomorrow. We`re all over this tomorrow as well. We`re not done


On the other side of the break, Attorney Eboni K. Williams presents her theory of the case.


VERONICA WATERS, WSB RADIO: And, in the words of a 25-year-old eyewitness, she thought that he was sort of play-acting on the scene. If this woman

thought that Harris seemed a little detached from what was going on, said he had turned his back to what first responders were doing as they tried to

resuscitate little Cooper.




PIERCE: Until we more or less run out a lot of the information that we are having to track down, right now, these charges will stand, and we`ll

continue to look at this case in all aspects of it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So we`re doing a Jane Velez-Mitchell Facebook poll asking, have you changed your mind since yesterday? Now that this new

information`s come out from our affiliate saying, cops believe that this dad knew his toddler son was sitting in that hot car roasting away for

hours. The child ultimately died.

And let`s see. Stephanie says responding to our new question, have you changed your opinion since last night? "Yes. I initially felt it was an

accident, now I feel stupid to believing him. If it turns out that the cops` belief is true, imagine how stupid and how betrayed a lot of people

are going to feel, people who gave money for his defense."

Let`s go out to Stacey, Massachusetts. What you got to say?

STACEY, MASSACHUSETTS: Yes. I just wanted to say that when they say innocent until proven guilty and we have to investigate, it sounds like a

bunch of clowns in romper room. Because the guy didn`t forget to put butter on his toast. He forgot a child in his car. No one forgets a


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Ebony K. Williams, what is your theory of the case?

WILLIAMS: You know, Jane, prosecutors do not have to prove a motive, right? We know that with the law. But, jurors are going to want to know

this unconscionable and horrible, why would he do this? They got to start with this marriage, Jane. Investigators need to get that wife, sit her

down and find out what was the state of this marriage? What was going on? Because oftentimes when you see a father or mother kill a child this young

and innocent, it`s not the fault of the child. Of course it`s not. It`s because they`re trying to get rid of this and get out of that marriage.

And unfortunately, Jane, I predict that it is very much probably what`s going on in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You ask a very important question. What was the state of the Harris` marriage? More on the other side.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight to out CNN Correspondent Victor Blackwell. What`s coming up on this fast moving case?

BLACKWELL: Well, very soon we`ll going to know more of what police say is a shocking to the conscience. They are releasing the manner and cause of

death at the very latest tomorrow. We`re told that the autopsy report, we may learn more about the condition of the body and more about how long been

the body was there. Often they concluded narrative about the storyline that supports the finding of their autopsy. We`ll learn a lot tomorrow.

Also, possibly more on those two warrants issued for the search of Justin Harris`s home.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Victor, thank you so much. We`re all over it tomorrow.

A huge day. The autopsy results, a police news conference. This case is about to blow wide open. I feel it.

Join me tomorrow 7:00 p.m. Eastern. "Nancy" is next.