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Mom in hot car death: 7 things to know

  • The 30-year-old's husband is facing murder charges after their toddler was strapped in a hot car seat for hours
  • Justin Ross Harris has pleaded not guilty
  • Leanna Harris knew her husband was cheating on her and complained about his spending, according to the lead investigator
Mom in hot car death: 7 things to know

Hot car death attention shifts to mom

Leanna Harris was in the courtroom to see her husband Justin Ross Harris appear before a Cobb County, Georgia judge on Thursday, July 3rd, 2014. Testimony included a detective saying her husband had been exchanging explicit messages with six women while their 22-month-old son was dying in a hot car

Even though she's not speaking to the media and has managed to stay out of the spotlight, Leanna Harris is still starting to draw some attention after some rather shocking details were revealed Thursday in a preliminary hearing for her husband, who is accused of murder in the death of the couple's 22-month-old son.

The boy was left in a hot car for hours while his father, Justin Ross Harris, went to work. Harris is currently behind bars in Georgia, facing second-degree cruelty to a child and felony murder charges for the tot's death. He has pleaded not guilty.

Newly released warrants obtained Monday by HLN show that investigators are searching for "emails/communication regarding child, wife and family issues" on several different electronic devices.

Many speculate that charges against Leanna Harris could be on the way in the coming days. Here's what we know about her so far:

Her background

The 30-year-old mother is a dietician who is licensed in Georgia and Alabama, according to records. She has lived in Georgia for about two years and, before that, lived in Moundville, Alabama.

Who normally dropped their son off at day care?

Phil Stoddard, the lead investigator on the case, testified at a preliminary hearing last week that it was Justin Ross Harris who normally brought his son to day care in the mornings. The pair would stop at Chick-fil-A beforehand a couple times each month. So the morning of the incident, when Ross told police he stopped by the eatery, was not out of the ordinary, according to Stoddard.

As far as afternoon pick-ups went, the couple would split those 50/50, according to Stoddard. On the day of the incident, it was Leanna Harris who showed up at the day care to collect her son in the afternoon.

Hints at a troubled marriage

Stoddard also testified last week that Justin Ross Harris was sexting other women -- including a teen -- while his son was strapped in his car seat dying. Text messages between Harris and his wife indicate that she was aware he was cheating on her, according to Stoddard.

Additional messages between the two show that Leanna Harris was complaining about her husband's spending, according to Stoddard. Justin Ross Harris had recently taken over the family's finances and had racked up $4,000 in credit debt (in addition to existing student and car loans) and the pair had two life insurance policies on their son, worth a combined $27,000.

She stands by her husband

"Am I angry with Ross? Absolutely not," Leanna Harris told mourners at her son's funeral two weekends ago. "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 children."

This was the only time the mother has spoken publicly about the case (read what else she had to say at the funeral here).

She also searched for information about child deaths

"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," according to a search warrant, which went on to say: "Leanna Harris, the child's mother, was also questioned regarding the incident and made similar statements regarding researching in car deaths and how it occurs."

Bizarre statements following son's death

When Leanna Harris learned that her son wasn't at day care on the day of the incident, she allegedly told employees, "Ross must have left him in the car... there’s no other explanation. Ross must have left him in the car." When they tried to console her by offering other possible scenarios, she reportedly just told them, "No." It was one of her biggest fears, according to police.

When she reunited with her husband later, at the police station, he told her he was upset about facing possible charges, according to Stoddard. Leanna Harris reportedly asked him, "Did you say too much?"

She also told mourners at their son's funeral that she was glad the toddler wouldn't have to deal with heartbreak, those awkward stages in life, or have to deal with middle and high school. She went on to say that she wouldn't bring the boy back into this "broken world."

Can she testify against him?

While husbands and wives are usually exempt from testifying against one another because of spousal privilege, prosecutors may be able to force Leanna Harris to testify against her husband, should his case go to trial. That's because the charges against him involve the death of a child, according to CNN Legal Analyst Sunny Hostin.

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