Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
A Georgia man whose 22-month-old son died after allegedly having been accidentally left too long in a hot car has been charged with murder after police discovered evidence that he may have knowingly left the child strapped in his seat for hours on a day when the temperature topped out at 92 degrees. Justin Ross Harris, the arrest warrant alleges, strapped his son Cooper into his rear-facing car seat after they ate breakfast at a fast food restaurant.
Harris allegedly then drove to work at a Home Depot corporate office about a half-mile away, leaving Cooper in the car until his lunch break, at which point he reportedly visited the car to put something in the front seat. Just after 4 pm, he returned to the car and left work. Moments later, he pulled into a shopping center parking lot and called for help with Cooper, who had been in the car for seven hours by that point. The child was pronounced dead at the scene.
The story was first reported as an accidental death–and a horrifying cautionary tale for harried parents who read accounts that Harris had simply forgotten to drop Cooper off at day care. But further investigation led to the felony murder and child cruelty charges, as CNN.com reports:
“Within moments of the first responders getting to the scene and doing their job and questions began to be asked about the moments that led up to their arrival at the scene, some of those answers were not making sense to the first responders,” [Sgt. Dana] Pierce [of the Cobb County police] said.
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 34 years. What I know about this case shocks my conscience as a police officer, a father and a grandfather.”
Last week, Harris pleaded not guilty to felony murder and child cruelty charges. He’s being held without bond at the Cobb County Jail and is scheduled to appear before a county judge July 3.
Cooper’s mother, Leanna Harris, told CNN last week that she’s been advised not to discuss the case with the media.
“We have been in communication with the mother throughout the investigation. At this time, I’m not at liberty to discuss her involvement. That’s a part of the case our detectives are working on,” Pierce said.
Cobb County Medical Operations Manager Mike Gerhard confirmed that the autopsy of the child is complete, but the boy’s manner of death has not been released.
Forty-three children died from being left too long in hot cars in 2013, Parents magazine reports, and children are at greater risk than adults of overheating in a car because internal cooling systems–chiefly through sweat–are not as quick to react as adults’.
Click here to read 7 tips for ensuring you never forget your child in a hot car, including practicing extra vigilance when you are starting a new routine, and adopting a “Look Before You Lock” habit whenever you leave your car. The Parents report also shares how quickly temperatures can rise inside a closed vehicle even on a day when the weather is relatively mild:
This is how quickly the temperature inside a vehicle rises on a 70°F day, based on research by Jan Null, department of earth and climate sciences, San Francisco State University. Null also found that keeping the windows open slightly had little effect and that car interiors with darker colors heat up faster.
After 10 minutes = 89°F
After 20 minutes = 99°F
After 30 minutes = 104°F
After 60 minutes = 113°F
After 2 hours = 120°F
Image: Car door, via Shutterstock
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car safety, child safety, day care, heat, hot car, murder, routine, Safety, sweat | Categories:
Child Health, Must Read, Safety
Thursday, May 1st, 2014
An Argentine girl has died after an apparent attack by bullies who allegedly inflicted severe violence on the 17-year-old. CNN has more:
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Naira Cofreces died Sunday of multiple injuries, including bruising to the left side of her brain, officials said.
“First there was a verbal altercation and then she was kicked, punched and Naira’s head was smashed against a wall,” Judge Maria Laura Durante told Telam, the Argentine state news agency. The judge also said this is a case of “aggravated homicide because there might’ve been premeditation.”
Officials say the teen was attacked last Wednesday at about 10 p.m., after leaving the night school she attended in the city of Junín, about 260 kilometers (161 miles) west of Buenos Aires. Her attackers, ages 17, 22 and 29, were waiting for her after school. The two younger ones were her classmates. All three have been arrested and charged with aggravated homicide, authorities said.
“There’s no clear motive. We have testimony that suggests the motive could’ve been another girl or because they (the victim and her friends) acted as if they were more beautiful than the rest and dressed better than them,” Durante told Telam.
A close friend of Cofreces told CNN affiliate Channel 9 the dispute started over differences that the victim and her alleged attackers had over looks and demeanor.
“She (one of the attackers) would tell her that she had a snobby face, an old woman’s face, that she thought she was more beautiful than her and that she walked as if she were a model. That’s how the whole problem started,” said the friend, who was not identified because she’s a minor.
Cofreces went home after the attack, but was taken to Agudos General Hospital the following morning. “She came the day after she was beaten up, we did a tomography and discovered a big hematoma on the left side of her brain, so we decided to operate,” Dr. Carlos Garbe told Telam.
A new tomography revealed more bruising of the brain. leading to a second surgery. “After the second surgery, she continued to show complications which worsened until she died,” Garbe said.
Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
The 9-month-old Pakistani boy who was accused of attempted murder for allegedly throwing bricks at a police officer has reportedly been taken into hiding by his family. Newser.com has more:
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The infant’s grandfather today tells Reuters that the child has gone into hiding, though he revealed the boy’s general location: the city of Faisalabad.
Why Muhammad Mosa Khan was charged is still murky, but CNN reports that the charges have at their root a Feb. 1 argument over an unpaid gas bill, in which police and a bailiff went to the child’s home and were pelted with rocks—hence the attempted murder charges; the boy’s father and teen brother were involved, and those in the house were charged.
The baby was granted bail and isn’t next due in court until Saturday, but his grandfather said the child may be a no-show, assuming the charges hold. An investigation is said to be under way, and a policeman has reportedly been suspended over the charges tied to the child, who cried as he was fingerprinted last week.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
“To Train Up a Child,” a parenting book that advocates parents use such extreme discipline measures as starvation and severe beatings with switches and plastic tubes, has been implicated in the murders of three children, all adoptees: 4-year-old Sean Paddock, 7-year-old Lydia Schatz, and 13-year-old Hana Williams. Last month, Williams’ adoptive parents, Larry and Carri Williams, were convicted of homicide by abuse after the girl died of malnutrition and hypothermia, both punishments linked with advice from the book, which was written by a preacher and his wife. Politix.com reports on a petition that is circulating urging Amazon.com to remove the book from its website–so far, the petition has garnered more than 80,000 signatures:
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The book by preacher Michael Pearl and his wife Debi advocates using a switch on babies starting at 6 months old. The book also recommends beating older children with a flexible plumbing pipe that “can be rolled up and carried in your pocket.” The Williams’s seem to have taken that advice to heart. When Hana died, her body was scarred by beatings with the plumbing line.
The same kind of tubing was used to beat Lydia Schatz, 7, whose adoptive parents were convicted of second-degree murder in her death. Her parents would intersperse beatings with prayer. Lydia “died from severe tissue damage, and her older sister had to be hospitalized,” the New York Times reports. Another small child, 4-year-old Sean Paddock, was scarred by beatings with the tubing when he died at the hands of his adoptive parents.
The Williams’s told friends that Hana was “rebellious” and recommended To Train up a Child as manual for dealing with rebellious children, according to Slate. Hana has also been deprived of food (perhaps following the Pearls’ advice that “a little fasting is good training”) and forced to shower outside and sleep in a barn without bedding, even in freezing weather.
Currently over 670,000 copies of To Train Up a Child are in circulation.
Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Gruesome details, including blood-stained baby wipes, pillow, and blanket, are emerging in the death of one-year-old Rehma Sabir in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The girl’s nanny, Aisling McCarthy Brady, stands accused of murder, a charge to which she has pleaded not guilty while awaiting autopsy results. The girl’s parents, Sameer Sabir and Nada Siddiqui, were part of a nanny share, but the other infant in Brady’s care was allegedly unharmed. More from The Boston Globe:
According to the report, Brady arrived at the Cambridge home around 7:50 a.m. and awoke Rehma Sabir at 8:15 a.m., describing her to State Police as “cranky as usual.”
“By Ms. Brady’s own account, Rehma continued to play, eat, track her with her eyes and appear otherwise happy and normal at least until the 1:30 p.m. feeding,’’ prosecutors wrote. “Based on this reported history, the fatal injuries were inflicted sometime during or after this feeding and prior to finding Rehma seizing in her crib at 4:30 p.m.’’
In her interview with State Police, Brady said Rehma had napped from about 10:20 a.m. until about 1 p.m. At that time, Brady put the toddler in her high chair to feed her lunch. The nanny described the toddler as a “fussy eater who sometimes held food in her mouth for up to an hour.’’
The nanny told investigators that the child had two or three spoonfuls of potatoes and eggs, along with a bottle. Brady briefly stepped out of the room, and when she returned, she found the infant “slouched’’ in her chair with her eyes half-open, Brady said.
Brady told police she put the infant back into her crib to resume napping, leaving her there until around 4:15 p.m. when she became concerned with the duration of the nap and tried to waken the child.
Brady noticed that Rehma was clenching her fist and her arms and legs were stiff. She picked Rehma up and she appeared limp,’’ State Police wrote. “Brady got a wet cloth and placed it on Rehma’s head.’’
Brady contacted the child’s father, who told her to call 911. At about the same time, the child’s mother returned home.
According to prosecutors, Brady was the only adult present with Rehma Sabir after 1 p.m., which is when they allege the fatal blows were delivered.
When State Police examined the couple’s apartment Jan. 17, they found the blood-stained materials. They also found damage to the drywall.
In November, a Manhattan nanny was indicted for the murder of two children in her care.
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