MARIETTA, Ga. -- Cobb County Police are facing a withering social media backlash for their handling of the investigation into the death of a toddler left stranded in the backseat of his father's car.
Police arrested and charged Justin Ross Harris with child cruelty and felony murder just over five hours after he discovered his son Cooper's lifeless body still strapped in his car seat. Harris told police he'd forgotten to drop the 22-month-old off at daycare that morning.
But police quickly decided Harris was not a distracted dad - he was a murderer.
Critics of the department's handling of the case say police were too quick to charge Harris with murder and too slow to explain the evidence they have against the father and Home Depot employee.
"Ross Harris is being wrongly detained without bail," intones the narrator of video posted online accusing police and prosecutors of a rush to judgement.
Harris and his family have received a tremendous outpouring of support online. More than 11,000 people have signed an online petition urging District Attorney Vic Reynolds to drop the charges. Supporters have donated more than $21,000 for burial expenses and legal bills.
Cobb County Police say they're confident in the evidence and case they're building but refuse to debate it the court of public opinion.
Authorities have not released the official cause of death or the autopsy results. Police say they have evidence, but won't release it until court.
A spokesperson for Reynolds says the case hasn't reached his office yet.
Harris remains jailed without bond. His next court hearing has been moved up to July 3.
Harris graduated from the University of Alabama in 2012. He worked in the IT department of Home Depot for the past two years. Cooper was his only son and Division of Family and Children Services says they have no reports of abuse with the child or the family.
According to Legacy.com, the funeral for Cooper Harris will be held in Alabama on June 28.