Police seeking medical records for Harris, son
by Sarah Westwood
July 08, 2014 04:00 AM | 3396 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Justin Ross Harris sits with one of his attorneys during his probable cause hearing on July 3. Authorities are now seeking the medical records for Harris and his son, Cooper.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Justin Ross Harris sits with one of his attorneys during his probable cause hearing on July 3. Authorities are now seeking the medical records for Harris and his son, Cooper.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA — Authorities are seeking medical records for Justin Ross Harris and the child he is accused of intentionally leaving in the back seat of his car.

Harris, 33, is facing charges of felony murder and cruelty to children after his son, Cooper, died in a car seat in the back of a Hyundai Tucson while Harris worked in his office all day.

In new warrants released Monday, investigators say they are looking for evidence of Cooper’s “health, medical conditions, medications, growth/development and any other medical related information.”

Harris told authorities during initial questioning his son was developing without issue and “appeared to be a normal child for his age.”

Maddox Kilgore, Harris’ defense attorney, told Judge Frank Cox that Harris was deaf in his right ear — the side that would have been closest to Cooper, who was strapped into a car seat in the middle of the back seat — during a probable cause hearing Thursday.

Detectives say they hope to comb through Harris’ medical records for evidence of any medical problems or medications that might have affected his behavior June 18, the day his son died in his car.

Whether he did so on purpose is the subject of an intense national debate.

Police are also looking for information regarding the family’s finances, credit card debt, business and life insurance in the digital records on several of Harris’ electronic devices, including two removable computer memory devices.

Some of the warrants further specify what investigators are now searching for on devices confiscated the day Cooper died, such as an iPhone 5 now being searched for finance and life insurance information, emails or texts regarding “child, wife and family issues,” searches regarding deaths in cars and communications with other people in the days leading up to Cooper’s death.

The original warrant simply stated police were examining the iPhone’s contents for “evidence of these crimes,” referring to Harris’ murder and child cruelty charges.

Affidavits released Monday say Harris has been in contact with family members from behind bars, guiding them through the process by which they must file a life insurance claim for Cooper.

During Thursday’s hearing, Detective Phil Stoddard, who served as the state’s sole witness as the case’s lead investigator, testified the Harris family had two life insurance policies on the toddler: a $2,000 policy through Harris’ employer, The Home Depot, and a $25,000 policy dating back to November 2012.

The affidavits say Harris and his wife Leanna both have outstanding student loans and car loans to pay.

Police say Harris, who told detectives he had recently taken over the family’s finances, had racked up $4,000 of credit card debt “in order to acquire airline miles.”

Harris told investigators he had recently started a new business with his friends, but he did not plan on stepping down from his job as a Web developer to pursue the new venture. The affidavit said Harris planned to “make money on the side.”

At Thursday’s hearing, Stoddard testified Cooper had grown too large for his car seat by the time of his death and that his head reached well above the top of the seat.

However, the newly-released affidavit says Cooper was strapped into the rear-facing car seat as tightly as the straps would allow.

Warrants also indicate Harris initially told police he was “happily married.”

“Nonetheless, evidence of inappropriate sexual communications with other women has been obtained,” the newly released warrants say.

Among those communications are six sexually-charged instant message conversations Stoddard said Harris was carrying on with women during the day of Cooper’s death, which authorities say included the exchange of explicit photos and involved at least one female minor.

Monday’s warrants show police are looking through Harris’ electronics to see who he was talking to and what he was saying just before he claims he forgot to drop his son off at day care.

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