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Mom, dad both researched hot car deaths
03:25 - Source: CNN

The Justin Ross Harris hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET. Watch it live on CNN TV and HLNTV, and on the WatchCNN feature online.

Story highlights

The death of a Georgia toddler highlights the use of electronic evidence in criminal cases

Computer use and online postings are fair game in criminal cases

Postings can also come back to bite you at work and in family life

CNN  — 

One of the few details to come out of the murder case against suburban Atlanta dad Justin Ross Harris – whose son was found dead after being strapped into a hot car for hours – is that he searched for information about such deaths shortly before the incident occurred.

According to police, Harris used his work computer to search for information about “child deaths inside vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for that to occur.”

Police seized Harris’ computer as part of their investigation into 22-month-old Cooper Harris’ death and included the details in a search warrant affidavit released last week. His wife also searched the topic, police say.

Harris will be in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing on charges of felony murder and child cruelty.

While Harris’ family appears to be standing by him and he’s been convicted of no wrongdoing, the revelation is the latest reminder that what you do and say online can become public in unpredictable and sometimes undesirable ways:

Digital breadcrumbs are becoming as common in criminal trials as fingerprints

Fifteen or 20 years ago, the notion of taking criminal evidence from a personal computer was as novel as the technology itself. Today, it seems commonplace and all over the headlines.