COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Attention has shifted to the mother of a 22-month-old child who died after his father left him in a hot car.
Justin Ross Harris, 33, is charged with felony murder and second-degree child cruelty in the death of his son, Cooper. He claims that he forgot to drop his son off at daycare before heading to work on June 18. Cooper Harris spent nearly seven hours in the SUV as temperatures rose to 88 degrees, according to warrants.
A judge found probable cause for the charges and did not grant bond to Harris in a hearing Thursday. He remains at Cobb County Jail.
Authorities won't say whether an arrest warrant has been obtained for Harris' wife, Leanna. It's not known whether police believe she had anything to do with the death of Cooper.
During Thursday's court hearing, Cobb County Detective Phil Stoddard said that Leanna didn't rush to her child — or even ask to see him. Leanna only wanted to know about her husband, Stoddard testified.
At the police station, she asked Harris whether he said too much. And earlier in the day, after finding that her son had never been dropped off at the daycare, she immediately told workers that her husband must have left Cooper in the vehicle.
According to warrants, both parents admitted to researching hot car deaths online.
Police could have intentionally waited until after Harris' hearing to arrest Leanna, wanting her to be in the courtroom to hear about his alleged double life. Stoddard testified Harris has been sexting multiple women, even an underage girl.
Leanna has defended Harris as a good father, but it could bolster the prosecution's case if she were willing to testify against him.
Meanwhile, computer forensics will be key in the case as police uncovered Harris' sexting and penchant for videos about death from his computers.
Stoddard testified that Harris had accessed websites advocating "child free" and searched "how to survive prison" before Cooper died.
Cobb County prosecutor Chuck Boring asked Stoddard whether the police had examined the computers.
"We have," Stoddard responded.
"Are you finished with your examination of these computers?"
"We've only scratched the surface," Stoddard answered.
"These experts in law enforcement have been trained in computer forensics," said Greg Evans of Hi Tech Crime Solutions. "They have the best software in the world that will go in and go through each sector. It may not take a day. It can take a month; it can take a week; or it can take 6 months depending on how much data you have on there."
Harris had access to at least three computers. And police said it's clear he was covering his tracks on all of them.
But in cyberspace, "delete" doesn't mean "gone."
"When you delete a file on your computer, it's still there," explained computer security expert Evans. "It just renames the sector to say this is just unused space right now. And then something else can write over top of it."
Evans said the same applies to your tablets and cellphones.
"People think 'Well, this is a cellphone. Once I delete a picture or text message or my contacts, it's gone,' " Evans said. "No. Even when you hit 'reset' on your phone, that information is still stored on that hard drive."
Contributing: Keith Whitney and Julie Wolff, WXIA-TV, Atlanta.