Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mother of Deceased Child Speaks At Funeral

The father gave two indications that something was very wrong and has been charged with murder.  
"I've kiled our child" (see prior analysis)

(CNN) -- The mother of a Georgia toddler who died in a sweltering SUV emphatically told a crowd at her son's funeral she loves and stands by her husband, even though he was charged with murder in the child's death.
"Am I angry with Ross?" Leanna Harris said at the funeral in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. "Absolutely not. It has never crossed my mind. Ross is and was and will be, if we have more children, a wonderful father. Ross is a wonderful daddy and leader for our household. Cooper meant the world to him."
This was the first time she's spoken publicly since June 18, when her husband, Justin Ross Harris, was charged with murder and second-degree child cruelty in the death of his son, Cooper Harris. He has pleaded not guilty.
Police said Harris, 33, told them he forgot to drop his 22-month-old son at the day-care center before going to work. The boy died after spending seven hours in a child safety seat in the back of an SUV.
Suspect speaks to funeral by phone
Toddler's dad calls funeral from jail
Earlier in the funeral service at University Church of Christ, Harris called from the Cobb County Jail outside Atlanta, where he's being held without bond, and addressed the crowd by speaker phone. He wasn't allowed to leave the jail for the funeral.
"Thank you for everything you've done for my boy," he said. "Good life. (Inaudible) No words to say. Just horrible. (Inaudible) I'm just sorry I can't be there."

note that he is sorry for not being there, not the death of his son. 
Then Leanna Harris spoke.
"First of all Ross, I love you and I'm doing this for you, OK?" she said. "Two years ago when we welcomed a 6-pound, 8-ounce perfect baby into the world, this never crossed my mind."
Note she brings to the deceased child what never crossed her mind:  "this"

Child 'was perfect'
Leanna Harris said she worried about not being able to have a child and was joyous when Cooper was born. The couple had been married since 2006.
"He was perfect, and he is perfect," she said of Cooper. "He changed mine and Ross' life. I've talked to you about the magnitude in which he changed it. As children do, he turned our lives upside down. ... I wouldn't trade it for the world."
The last two nights of Cooper's life, he had trouble sleeping and ended up in bed between her and her husband, Leanna Harris said.
"I remember turning over in the middle of the night, his mouth was open and his full toddler lips just breathing right into my face," she said. "I will cherish that moment forever."
'The Lord is holding me up'
Religion has helped her and her husband cope during this stressful time, she said.
Police released search warrants showing that Ross Harris searched the Internet for information on child deaths in hot vehicles. The international media scrutinized the couple's life.
"Some of you might wonder how I'm even standing here today. I wonder that myself, and I asked myself that question over and over the last week," she said.
"I should be crumpled into a heap of snot and tears into the dirt, but the Lord is holding me up right now. He is holding Ross up. And he is holding both of us up when we can't hold ourselves up."
Leanna Harris followed her son's casket out of the church, still on the phone with her husband.

Before hanging up, she said, "I love you."


alieth said...

The poor boy hasn't been buried yet and his mom is already talking about having more kids with the man who is undoubtedly responsible for her baby's death?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

wtf? I don't get this woman at all. I would be furious with my husband, even if the death was accidental. Ahe is in denial or she had something to do with the child's outcome. Plese do not let her have more kids.

mammy said...

I think she's involved with his death. The comments about him not sleeping well and his breath. So accepting of his death. Too many red flags

Anonymous said...

So, she's not upset with her husband at all? Not only did he "forget" to drop their toddler son off at his work' s onsite day care, he "forgot" to pick him up? I would be beyond upset.

There are now reports that she has also admitted to researching child deaths in hot cars.

Tish said...


Peter I know you are busy, I was wondering if you'd seen/read anything on the Baden-Clay trial here in Australia at the moment? Gerard Baden-Clay is currently on trial for the murder of his wife Allison Baden-Clay. This is his initial interview with Police the morning he reported her missing. If you have the time I'd love to see your take on it.
I note a few things: he disparages her, speaks of her in the past tense a couple of times and tends to skirt around giving direct answers eg: the scratches on his face with lots of unnecessary information.


Anonymous said...

"he turned our lives upside down." I would associate that statement as something negative and wouldn't expect it from a loving parent. When is upside down ever good?

Then to mention how the child slept in their bed the last 2 nights of his life. To me that seems more of a complaint than anything else. Why not just say how she remembers his face as he was sleeping. Why point out he had trouble sleeping and had to be in their bed. Too much extra information.

Then she explains she is able to stand there because the lord is holding her up. I feel she is trying to explain to those suspicious of her why she is showing little emotion. It's because the lord is holding her not because she didn't want her child anymore.

Atlchanel said...

On Wbstv it says that Ross had a dream before the baby died that Cooper was in Heaven sitting on Jesus lap. Ross was playing the guitar and Leanna was taking care of children in a nursery. What? Leanna stated she was glad that Cooper would never have to deal with awkward stages or middle and highschool. I would be exactly the opposite crying because my baby would never get to experience those things because his life was cut so short. There is something very wrong with these people!

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Thank you, Tish.

I've put up the link for analysis. Unfortunately for me, the link is one in which I cannot copy and paste (unless I am doing something wrong).

The interview is fascinating and allowed me to highlight principle of how an interview should be conducted.


Anonymous said...

Wow, then why would she want more kids? They'd have to deal with those things too eventually.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know if there is video or witnesses of Cooper having breakfast that morning. I'd like to also know if a time of death was decided. I'm wondering if he didn't actually die that day/time. The autopsy showed hyperthermia, so that's a definite, but I'm wondering on time frame, if both parents were researching such things.

Unknown said...

My feeling all along was that the mother Leanna was involved too. I have felt this since I first heard that he called her from the side of the road to deliver the news that their baby was dead. That is not news to be delivered over the phone. (Unless she is waiting on word that it is done.)

I find Leanna's defense of her son's killer AT his funeral very distasteful, and further indicative of her guilt. I guess she just couldn't pass up the opportunity to try to sway hearts and minds to believe in his/their innocence.

Even on the day of his final rememberance, Cooper wasn't allowed to take center stage, which (along with her comments about their lives being turned upside down/him not sleeping well) suggests a theme of the child being an inconvenience to their lives.

Now I see that the mother was also found to have done searches on toddler deaths in cars.

Three strikes, your out, Leanna.

Atlchanel said...

Excellent point!!

Anonymous said...

I agree Jen. I hope we're wrong though.

Deejay said...

These are creepy people. They just seem so unnaturally comfortable and resigned to their son's death. I read that they were trying to buy a house. I wonder if Cooper's death was planned to collect insurance money- ie - their son 'gives' them a jump start for their family. They would then go on to have other children.

Betty said...

She says "absolutely not." No is firm enough. Switches from father to daddy, begins a sentence in the negative, "it never crossed my mind." Speaks strongly about breeding again as if thats normal, predictable or even reasonable. She's presuming he'll be freed. Thats a sickening presumptuous entitlement.
Im not reading grief here. Im reading guilt and entitlement, and not shaneful guilt, criminal guilt.
I take the last two days spent in bed at night as a goodbye.

Betty said...

Also, the bed thing and I gagged when I read I remember turning over and seeing his full toddler lips breathing in my face.
Oh stop! Am I the only one who shuddered? It is so hypersexualized. FULL TODDLER LIPS. Shudder. Penthouse.

Anonymous said...

This case reminds me of a CSI-episode, where a baby died in a hot car. Turned out the couple planned to have their baby killed, because he was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs-disease.

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for continuing to address this case; if the allegations are true then the people involved deserve to be scrutinized up the yin yang. I looked into the process of death by heat stroke/hyperthermia and lost it when I read about intrathoracic petechiae due to deep gasping – in other words, this is a long, painful way to die.

I predict the parents will be unable to keep from blabbing and will “leak” all over the place. Since charges have been filed on the dad and the mother is also coming under suspicion, it's open season on dissecting their every word – a perfect study for statement analysis.

Rose said...

The mother should be furious with the father. Her reaction makes no sense. It is one thing to eventually forgive him if it was an accident, but less than a week after the death, she should still be enraged.

It also makes no sense to research how a baby dies in a hot car unless you need that information for a specific reason. You do not need to know the logistics of it; you just need to know to never leave your baby in a hot car.

It has never sat right with me that ALL deaths of babies in hot cars were accidents. I am convinced that a large number of them were actually murders.

Lemon said...

"I remember turning over in the middle of the night, his mouth was open and his full toddler lips just breathing right into my face," she said. "I will cherish that moment forever."

She describes what she would "see", but wouldn't it be dark "in the middle of the night"? Why the inclusion of "his full toddler lips" as it seems it is extra information?

This above statement by the mother is odd. I would like to know if there is evidence of a "breathing" Cooper that morning at breakfast. Does anyone know if the breakfast the father talks about was inside at Chik Fil A or drive through?

A side note: I would think one would "cherish" the last memory they had with someone. Was the mother present when father and Cooper left the house?

Anonymous said...

They had breakfast inside the restaurant.

BTW, the drive to daycare was 0.6 mile, in the opposite direction of his office. The intersection where he went straight instead of turning left to daycare was a 1-2 minute drive.

IOW, he "forgot" his son was in the car less than 5 minutes after strapping him into his carseat.

Rose said...

Plus, wouldn't two parents who had just researched the horror of how a child dies in a hot car be extra careful about it?

Furiously Curious said...

Betty, I shuddered right along with you. I am still shuddering thinking about it. Some cringing in there too.

Tania Cadogan said...

Subtle demeaning of the victim is never a good sign

Anonymous said...

This incident would damage the strongest of marriages, if not certainly, destroy it.

Way too accepting of her own son's death. It's chilling. She trying too hard, her words are the definition of "the unexpected" in this scenario.

My best friend just had her second daughter, and again her maternal instincts are heightened. I love seeing this in her. I've known her since 5th grade. There is NOTHING like mothering instinct, nothing more beautiful. She has transformed in becoming a mother. Selfless.

There is no way, that an innocent mother would be so acceptant of her son's death. It doesn't fit.

R.I.P. Cooper

BostonLady said...

I wonder how many times the father called the mother during the day the baby was murdered? I'm guessing LE is looking into this.

The mother's reactions are not as expected. She's too calm. Did she have time to prepare? I also believe she is involved. Her statement of "turned our lives upside down" isn't positive. She didn't say that he brought them joy or love. Rather the negative of turning their lives upside down. And then I am bothered by the statement "full toddler lips". I don't believe I have ever described my children when they were toddlers with a reference to their lips. Why did that statement leak out?

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

1. "He changed mine and Ross' life.
-The Expected is "He changed our lives."
2. When she begins discussing the impact Cooper had on their lives it is "mine [her first] and Ross' [him second]." Note: At that point, she considered she & Ross separated...her choice of words tells us so. Why? Why were they not united? Order is important. Why did Cooper change her life more than Ross'? Someone should have immediately asked "In what way?"
3. Two sentences later though she says, "He turned our world upside down." Note: Leanna and Ross are united when their world is "turned upside down" (the most commonly used phrase indicating utter chaos,destruction, indicating feelings of being hapless blindsided victims of an unforeseen disaster).

I'd do some extensive interviews with friends, family, Church members as to what Leanna did job-wise and hobby-wise prior to Cooper (Ross also). I'd be interested in what they're financial status was vs. is currently, as well as their standard of living and spending habits. I'm curious if they had a network of (or even a few) close friends with children (same age or older) they consulted for parenting advice. Likewise, what kind of parenting/discipline books were in the home (or sites bookmarked or pinned on their computer(s).

Frankly,given Cooper's age, I suspect he had begun exhibiting some self-willed behavior via temper tantrums and some defiance. I wonder if they may have equated this to Fallen Mankind (i.e. the sinful nature of mankind). I wonder if this did indeed morph into a "mercy" killing, as in we're saving him from further harm, from fully becoming bad. Leanna emphasizes 3 times how perfect Cooper was when born, when his life was over ("was"), and is currently (now dead). Dead children can't defy parents, throw tantrums, refuse to go to bed/stay in bed/go to sleep.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

I wonder if they decided, amidst some typical 18-24 month old behavior (self-willed, defiant,testing boundaries, etc), that they'd made a mistake having a child right now.

Perhaps they mistakenly believed it would be all sunshine and roses; they had a perfect baby, perfect child. Perfect,that is, until Cooper hit that developmental milestone called self-will and self-awareness. It coincides with the child being physically skilled/able to do more things for himself. It's marked by 2-3 common phrases: "NO!"; "Me do!"; and "I do.". The battle for control is on and war declared. LOL

It would be interesting to know when Cooper started daycare. Was it shortly after birth, within the last year, or more recently? How many days a week was Cooper in daycare? Was he there regularly? Had he been exhibiting any negative behavior there (hitting, biting, a new aggressiveness)? Was he exhibiting any new or unusual behavior new to him? Things like being overly clingy to parent/caregiver, having and aversion to daycare/caregivers/other children/a specific child,exhibiting changes in play behaviors (i.e. preferring to play alone, playing with toys in an exacting manner, easily frustrated/overwhelmed with frequent extreme meltdowns etc.), exhibiting changes in personality (unexplained rage, withdrawal, sadness, unusually subdued,disinterested in toys/play/activities,or unusual fearfulness (i.e. unexplained timidity, flinching at loud noises, exaggerated startle response, etc.)? Had anyone in the family, friends, or Church members noticed any of these?

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

What did neighbors see and hear? Most 18-24 yr olds have an excellent set of lungs and know how to use them when they're not getting their way. LOL Most neighbors are aware that something is going on (at the least, the usual temper tantrum). Neighbors can be an invaluable source of the number, usual time, duration, and intensity of a child's tantrums (and often, the parents' response).

I wonder if Ross and Leanna were concerned about losing their housing if Cooper was noisy/disruptive and accidentally fatally hurt him "disciplining" him or trying to quiet him?

I agree it was creepy hearing Leanna describe Cooper's full lips. Creepier still was the open mouth comment first. Notice that Cooper's lips were breathing, not Cooper.

Anonymous said...

How does a mother speak at her babies funeral. I would be out of it and certainly would be afraid to say anything because the media will run with it. But I guess I haven't been in their shoes and I know for a fact, I never will. Just breaks your heart for the baby and innocent family members that truly loved him. Also I wonder if friends and family ever suspected anything unusual about them. There are some people that you can imagine things happening too, and others...NEVER! Will we ever know the truth?

Anonymous said...

Wow I.Said same.thing

Betty said...

One last thing because the whole succulent toddler lips thing put my face and hair in the toilet....she's asked herself over and over last week how she could stand in front of us and then analyzed her own behavior as to what is expected and what she is incapable of even faking...
Such an elaborate MEMEME celebration, this is her explanation for being dead inside, which she is aware of. A simple, "I am just numb," or "I feel dead inside,", etc., I died with him, you know, I haven't got it to give.
Not Im a soldier for Christ and this was nearly a mercy killing and why isnt snot dribbling from my nose... oh yeah, Christ, he wipes my nose with his sleeve. Convenient Christianity.
It is so bizarre she got up there and rambled on about her emotional reaction. I know people want to give the glory to God, but she's taking it and giving it to her husband and herself.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread? I hope she never speaks in public again, I hate forking over narcissistic supply.

Unknown said...

I am detecting an awful lot of "child" and "children"

We should seriously look into the mother... What if the death was caused by sexual abuse? Or just what if there was any abuse?

I find the use of child, the mention of the last few nights, and trouble sleeping, yet sleeping mouth open in the very same breath, suspicious