A Georgia father charged with murder after leaving his 22-month-old son in a sweltering car for seven hours told police he had researched how hot a vehicle needed to be to kill a child, according to reports released on Saturday.
Justin Harris, 33, told police he conducted the Internet research because he was afraid his son might die in an overheated vehicle, local media reports citing a police search warrant said.
"During an interview with Justin, he stated that he recently researched, through the Internet, child deaths inside vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for that to occur. Justin stated that he was fearful that this could happen," the search warrant said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other media.
Cobb County police spokesman Mike Bowman told Reuters he could not confirm the information was included the search warrant.
Details from a police interview with Harris were released the same day that family and friends gathered in Alabama for a funeral for the child, who a medical examiner ruled had died of heat stroke.
Harris was being held without bail, charged with felony murder and second-degree child cruelty in the death in an Atlanta suburb on June 18.
The case has drawn wide interest after reports of an emotional scene of Harris pulling into a shopping center parking lot on his way home from work and appearing to frantically try to revive his son.
The boy was left strapped in his rear-facing car seat in the back seat of the SUV while Harris went to work.
That day, temperatures in the Atlanta area reached 92 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius), according to the National Weather Service.
Police said during his lunch hour, Harris went to his office parking lot, placed something in his SUV through the driver's side door and then returned to his office.