Jackie Haines III

John P. Cleary | The Herald Bulletin Jackie Haines III talks about the death of his 18-month-old son, Harlan, who Anderson police say died under suspicious circumstances.

ANDERSON — Harlan Haines will be buried at a private family service and interred at Parkview Cemetery in Alexandria.

The 18-month-old toddler's untimely death Saturday at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis was not an accident, said Jackie L. Haines III, his father.

Haines and Harlan's mother, Jenny Harris, both say they are seeking justice and want whoever is responsible for the death of their child held to account.

Anderson Police spokesman Maj. Joel Sandefur said investigators are interviewing "persons of interest."

What is known is that the child was a passenger in a green 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier that crashed into a utility pole in the 1900 block of Poplar Street early Friday morning.

Police have interviewed the driver of that Cavalier, 26-year-old Dylan T. Tate, but declined to identify him as a suspect or person of interest in the case.

Tate is the boyfriend of Harlan's mother, Jenny Harris, said Haines.

When the child was brought to Community Hospital Anderson about 4:30 a.m. Friday, he wasn't breathing and his heart had stopped, according to Haines.

In addition, medical personnel discovered bruising not consistent with an automobile accident and paper towels shoved down the boy's throat.

In addition, there were indications an object had been inserted into the boy's rectum, as well as signs of prior physical abuse, Haines said he was told by Department of Child Services officials.

Although doctors were able to revive Harlan, Haines said, the child's brain had been deprived of oxygen for about 15 minutes. Tests at Riley showed his brain was not functioning.

Haines said he and Harris were a couple when Harlan was conceived and after he was born on July 29, 2016.

The child was actually a twin, but the other fetus died in the womb. "He was our miracle child," Haines said.

When Haines and Harris separated, she assumed custody of Harlan and began a relationship with Tate, Haines said.

Haines said he didn't interfere with the relationship between Tate and Harris and didn't have contact with the boy for several months.

Haines said Monday that he's consumed with regret and furious with himself for failing to be part of Harlan's life and for failing to protect him.

"This is the worst thing I've ever had to go through," Haines told The Herald Bulletin on Monday.

"I'll never see him grow up. I'll never see him become a man. I'll never teach him how to do everything better than the way I did them, and let him learn from my mistakes."

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