Father of child found dead in hot car describes himself as ‘harmless’ on dating website
ATLANTA — Justin Ross Harris apparently called himself “RJ” on a social media personal networking site through which he met a woman that police say he was messaging on the day his son was dying in a hot SUV outside his office building.
On a profile on the Skout website, “RJ” posted three profile photos, all of which appear to be Harris.
The Georgia father has been charged with murder and child cruelty in the death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper.
The Skout user says he is a married man from Smyrna, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta.
It lists his age as 27. Harris, who is 33, lives in nearby Marietta.
“Just looking to talk. Message me, I’m harmless,” the profile creator wrote.
The profile was last updated five months ago. There is a post on the page from a year ago, but it is was not possible to determine how long the profile had been up or to say with certainty that Harris had created the profile.
A message left with Ross Harris’ attorney, H. Maddox Kilgore, was not immediately returned Tuesday night.
Police say Harris left son Cooper strapped into a car seat in his SUV for seven hours while he went to work on June 18.
Records show that the mercury topped 92 that day, and police say the temperature was 88 degrees when the boy was pronounced dead in a parking lot not far from his father’s workplace.
Kilgore said at a hearing last week that his client forgot Cooper was in the car. Harris has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Harris messaged six women, one of whom was underage, and exchanged explicit texts from work while Cooper Harris was dying, Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard testified at a probable cause hearing last week.
Harris allegedly sent explicit photos, including one of an erect penis, to an underage female. Stoddard said Harris was using a messaging service called Kik and one of the women had told him she met Harris on Skout.
Kilgore repeatedly objected to the testimony being used at the hearing. But the judge allowed the testimony.
Cobb County Chief Magistrate Frank Cox found probable cause to move forward on murder and child cruelty charges.
“For him to enter the car … when the child had been dead and rigor mortis had set in, and the testimony is the stench in the car was overwhelming at that point in time, that he — in spite of that — got in the car and drove it for some distance before he took any action to check on the welfare of his child, I find there is probable cause for the two charges contained in the warrant,” Cox told a packed courtroom.
Harris remains in jail. His wife, Leanna Harris, visited Tuesday, according to WXIA, an Atlanta TV station and CNN affiliate. It is unclear whether she was able to see her husband.
A series of documents released Monday revealed more details of the investigation.
The documents, which include applications for search warrants and eight actual search warrants in the case against Harris, seek the medical records of Harris and his late son, a DVD, a 2-gigabyte memory card, a 32GB thumb drive and an external hard drive.