Mother charged in connection with 18-month-old boy’s ‘suspicious’ death

Indianapolis Area Crime

Jennifer Harris

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ANDERSON, Ind. – After authorities initially called 18-month-old Harlan Haines’ death “suspicious” in February, police arrested the child’s mother Wednesday.

Jennifer Harris faces a neglect of a dependent leading to death charge after Harlan died on Feb. 25.  She was arrested around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

After Harlan’s death, we spoke with his father, Jackie Haines, who said, “something had to have happened. This was no accident.”

Haines went on to say, “I just don’t understand how anyone can hurt a little baby. He didn’t do anything wrong. He was just a baby.”

Harlan Haines/photo from Jackie Haines

Haines believes Harlan was abused; the baby arrived brain dead at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in Indianapolis.

“I just wanted him to wake up,” Haines said.

In March, FOX59 requested the autopsy results in the case, but investigators said it could take weeks before those were available.

Harlan’s father said DCS had investigated a case involving the baby a few months before his death. In that case, Harlan ended up in the hospital with bruised eyes. Jennifer Harris initially said he’d suffered an allergic reaction and then changed her story to say a Christmas tree fell on him. The boy had a broken leg and ended up going home with Harris and her boyfriend.

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