Cooper Harris' mom asks for privacy to grieve - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Cooper Harris' mom asks for privacy to grieve

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Leanna Harris Leanna Harris
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The attorney for Leanna Harris, the mother of the toddler who died in a hot car in Georgia, released a statement requesting privacy for his client to grieve.

Attorney Lawrence Zimmerman released a one page statement around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. It asks the media to leave Leanna Harris alone and let her grieve in private.

Zimmerman begins the statement by saying that Leanna Harris is mourning Cooper's death in her own private way, and that process has been made more difficult because of media coverage.

"She mourns Cooper's death deeply, in her own private way. She takes comfort from a strong faith in God, but the loss is still overwhelming. Getting through each day seems almost impossible," the statement says.

Zimmerman also says the constant media scrutiny has prevented Leanna Harris from returning to work and closes by asking media to allow her the dignity to mourn her son in private.

"Newspapers, television and online media have fostered a poisonous atmosphere in which Leanna's every word, action and emotion - or failure to cry in front of a crowd -- is scrutinized for some supposed hidden meaning.  In much the same way, the press unjustly harassed and hounded Olympic bombing hero Richard Jewell when he didn't behave as some thought he should," it says.

Harris' husband, Justin Ross Harris, is charged with felony murder and second-degree cruelty to children in the death of their son. Leanna Harris has not been charged with any crime.

During our coverage, we have reached out to the Harris family by phone, but have respected their wishes.

You can read the entire statement below or view a PDF of the statement here.

Leanna Harris is living every parent's nightmare - the child she bore and loved every moment of his life has died. For most parents, it is difficult, if not impossible, to comprehend such a thing. But for Leanna, that nightmare is all too real. She will never again be able to tuck him into bed at night and return later to check on him.

She mourns Cooper's death deeply, in her own private way. She takes comfort from a strong faith in God, but the loss is still overwhelming. Getting through each day seems almost impossible.

Dealing with her grief has become more difficult as the days go on, however, in large part because of the constant speculation and innuendo in the media. Newspapers, television and online media have fostered a poisonous atmosphere in which Leanna's every word, action and emotion - or failure to cry in front of a crowd -- is scrutinized for some supposed hidden meaning. In much the same way, the press unjustly harassed and hounded Olympic bombing hero Richard Jewell when he didn't behave as some thought he should.

Reporters have delved into Leanna's upbringing, her employment, quizzed people for information about her marriage, and her sex life. The constant attention has prevented her from returning to work.

For Leanna, Cooper's death has been devastating. She asks that she be allowed to grieve in private without reporters calling, following or watching her home. Since his death, she has been unable to have that time of mourning that every bereaved parent needs. Please allow her the dignity to mourn her son in private.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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