Father charged with murder after toddler left in car for hours

ATLANTA Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:43pm EDT

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ATLANTA (Reuters) - A suburban Atlanta man has been charged with felony murder and child cruelty after his 22-month-old son died after being left unattended in a car for seven hours in the heat, police said on Thursday.

Justin Ross Harris, 33, of Marietta, was supposed to drop his son at a day care center on Wednesday morning on his way to work, Cobb County Police spokesman Dana Pierce said. Harris instead went to his office and the child spent the day in his car seat, the spokesman said.

Temperatures in the Atlanta area reached 92 degrees F (33 C) on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The child was discovered in a shopping center parking lot, where Harris had gone after leaving work, authorities said. Police patrolling the area on Wednesday afternoon approached a crowd gathered around Harris' car and discovered the child, police said in a statement.

"As officers began to render medical treatment to the 22-month old male child, it was discovered that he was deceased after apparently being left unattended in his car seat inside the vehicle," the statement said.

(Editing by Edith Honan and Peter Cooney)

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