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Dad of son left in car told family to collect life insurance

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Georgia man is accused of telling family to collect $27,000 in life insurance on toddler who died in hot car

While in jail, the father of a Georgia toddler who died last month in a sweltering SUV told family members how to collect on $27,000 in life insurance on the boy, according to search warrants.

Justin Ross Harris, 33, is charged with murder and child cruelty in the June 18 death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper.

"Through the investigation Harris has made comments to family members regarding a life insurance policy that he has on Cooper and what they need to do in order to file for it," read one of the search warrant affidavits. The Cobb County magistrate's office released warrants last week and additional warrants to the Los Angeles Times on Saturday.

Harris’ court hearing Thursday and the warrants indicate the man has dual personalities: One is a churchgoing family man who called his son’s funeral in tears from jail. The other, according to authorities, is a man who desired a child-free life and who, as his son sat for hours in broiling heat, sexted six women.

Harris had two life insurance policies on Cooper. Before his son's death, he had done online research about kids dying in hot cars, twice watching a video on the subject, according to police testimony given at a probable-cause hearing Thursday in Cobb County.

After the more than two-hour hearing, the judge found that prosecutors had presented enough evidence to deny Harris bond and try him for murder and second-degree child cruelty.

On the day of the incident, Harris had left Cooper in an SUV in the parking lot at Home Depot, where he worked, at 9:25 a.m. The temperature reached the upper 80s that day, police said.

Harris left work at 4:15 p.m., then brought his car to a screeching halt near a strip mall and pulled his son's body out of the car. He appeared to be in distress, according to witness testimony.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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