Father seeks answers in child's death police call 'suspicious'

Harlan Haines (Submitted photo)
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ANDERSON, Ind. (WTHR) – There was a traffic crash at the corner of Pine and Poplar in Anderson early Friday morning and police want to know what really happened there.

It’s a crash that changed a lot of lives.

A smashed utility pole marks the crash scene.

“It woke me up,” said witness John Boze. "I heard somebody hit the pole. The car was running and the horn was blaring.”

(Photos provided)

But when Boze rushed out to check on the driver, “there was nobody there and nobody around it.”

Police said they were told a toddler was in the car when it hit the pole. Harlan Haines, 19 months old, was taken by someone to an Anderson hospital with severe injuries. He was later transferred to Riley Hospital for Children.

Medical staff “did a brain scan and said the results had come back negative,” said Jackie Haines, Harlan’s father. “There was no brain activity. There was probably going to be no chance that he would make it.”

Harlan died Monday. It could be weeks before the coroner determines the cause.

“I just want to know why, what happened I just want justice for my baby. I want to know what was going on and who caused it,” Jackie said.

Jackie wants to know if Harlan’s fatal injuries stemmed from the wreck. Was the toddler even in the car? Jackie said he saw the wounds on his son’s body at the hospital.

“He was just laying there. He did have a lot of bruising.”

Jackie said his son suffered a broken leg and a head injury earlier this year, allegedly from a falling Christmas tree. Jackie was not there when it happened but said those injures sparked an investigation. Harlan was not removed from the home.

Police say they can’t talk about that investigation right now. They are calling the boy’s death suspicious.

The toddler lived with his mother and her boyfriend.

“I know she loved that baby and I love the baby,” says Jackie. “I should’ve been there. I’ll never forgive myself for that. I should’ve been there to protect him.”

We tried unsuccessfully to reach the toddler’s mom and her boyfriend.

“I want people responsible to suffer how I have suffered,” Jackie said. “I want them to be punished for what they have done. There’s no way they can get away with that. He’s just a baby. He’s just a little baby.”

Friends have set up a GoFundMe.com account to cover expenses.

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