Hot Cars and Kids

Internet Postings May Give Glimpse Into Life of Hot-Car Dad

Image: A Cobb County Sheriff's deputy talks to Ross Harris, right, the father of a toddler who died in a hot car

A Cobb County Sheriff's deputy talks to Ross Harris, right, the father of a toddler who died after police say he was left in a hot car for about seven hours, as he appears for his bond hearing in Cobb County Magistrate Court, Thursday, July 3, 2014, in Marietta, Ga. Kelly J. Huff / Marietta Daily Journal Pool via AP

MARIETTA, Ga. — As investigators dig deeper into how a Georgia toddler died in a stiflingly hot SUV last month, more details are emerging about the boy's father from social media postings.

Ross Harris, 33, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and child cruelty. His attorney, Maddox Kilgore, has repeatedly said that his client accidentally forgot to drop off his 22-month-old son, Cooper, at daycare on the morning of June 18.

But prosecutors allege that Harris was having marital problems and left his son to die on purpose because he wanted a child-free life.

During a probable cause hearing last week, Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard testified that Harris was "sexting" with up to six women on popular messaging sites like Kik and Skout.


Stoddard said he was able to contact at least one of the women.

"She stated that she first met Ross, and she knew him as Ross, through Skout," Stoddard said. "That he wanted to hook up with her."

NBC News has located a profile on Skout that may be the one belonging to Ross Harris. The profile — under the screen name "RJ" — includes three pictures that strongly resemble him.

The Skout profile lists the married man as being from Smyrna, a suburb of Atlanta, near Marietta, where Ross Harris lived with his wife, Leanna. The person is listed as being 27 years old, although Harris is actually 33.

The profile's creator wrote: "Just looking to talk. Message me, I'm harmless."

The Skout page appeared to be updated last five months ago.

NBC News could not confirm that Harris himself created the account or how long it had been up. He is being held without bail at the Cobb County Jail. His attorney has previously declined to comment and did not return calls seeking comment on the accounts that NBC News located.

But investigators say they are looking into all of Harris' potential social media postings, including on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

On the witness stand at the probable cause hearing, Detective Stoddard also testified that Harris had researched hot car deaths online on Reddit.

NBC News has found a Reddit profile that appears to belong to Harris.

Not only does the Reddit username "RoscoeUA" match a Flickr account with pictures of Harris, but in postings over several months, details seem to match up with what is known about Harris' life: that he was from Alabama, that he stopped being a police dispatcher in 2009, that he graduated college in 2012 with a bachelor's degree and that his son was six months old in February of 2013.


The postings stopped on June 18, the day Harris' son died in the sweltering SUV and Harris was taken into police custody.

On that profile, a poster believed to be Harris expressed anti-abortion views in an entry dated April of 2013, around the time a demonstration took place at the University of Alabama:

"Killing a person (in the sense of abortion) is selfish and malicious with the intent of only satisfying your own personal agenda. Killing an unborn child is only for the purpose of convenience."

The poster went on to write:

"I base all my opinions on the idea that abortion is ending the life of a child. I'm not saying it's murder because our laws say it isn't, and I'm fine with that. That's why we have a free government to get laws changed if we feel strongly enough about them. But I do firmly believe that abortion is the killing of an unborn child. Although I am religious, it has nothing to do with religion for me."

Other Reddit posts appear to shed more light on Harris' private life: He was a college football fan and apparently posted about his love for the University of Alabama, where he earned his degree.

Another post, dated February of 2013, seems to match his lawyer's assertion during last week's probable cause hearing that Harris was deaf in one ear.

"Although I wasn't paralyzed, I had a bottle rocket explode in my ear that was shot by friend," the poster wrote. "It caused me to have vertigo/terrible balance and facial paralysis for long time, thankfully after two surgeries I have no outward issues, I'm just deaf in my right ear."

The posts also seem to explain why he ended up in an IT job at Home Depot: "I have always had a love for the web and the different technologies involved, so I knew I had to pursue it," the poster wrote.

That same entry, dated February of 2013, paints a picture of man in the prime of his life, a sharp contrast from his current situation: "I am now in my dream job," the poster wrote.

"(I) have a beautiful 6-month old son and love going to work everyday. I couldn't be happier."