'Delightful Little Boy' Is Killed by Father in Murder-Suicide, as Mom Shares Heartbreak: 'Evil and Cowardly Act'

Dr. Sophie Roome is mourning the loss of her son, Rowan, 2, whose father killed him and then himself in May

<p>gofundme</p> Two-year-old Rowan who was killed by his father, James Harrison


Two-year-old Rowan who was killed by his father, James Harrison

The mother of an Australian boy whose father killed him before taking his own life spoke out afterwards, calling her son’s death “an evil and cowardly act of violence.”

On the night of May 19, Dr. Sophie Roome’s 2-year-old son, Rowan, was found dead in an apartment in East Lismore in New South Wales, next to the body of his father, James Harrison, 38, News Corp Australia reports.

Harrison is believed to have planned out the murder-suicide by creating a system that pumped gas into his apartment, Deputy NSW Police Commissioner Thurtell said at a press conference in May, News Corp Australia reports.

The child’s death has left his mother reeling with grief.

“Rowan’s life was ended by an evil and cowardly act of violence, perpetrated by a person he should have been able to trust the most,” Roome said in a May statement with other family members, ABC North Coast reports.

“There are no possible excuses for this hurt and no end to the pain it has caused,” the statement continues. “We are devastated. We will love and miss Rowan forever.”

The tragedy came to light when Roome called police and asked them to perform a welfare check on Harrison and Rowan when Harrison failed to bring the boy home from a planned custody visit that day, News Corp Australia reports.

Rowan lived with Roome but had scheduled visits with his father, abc.net.au reports.

Roome called police at 5:30 p.m. that day saying that Harrison was supposed to have brought Rowan home at 4:30.

Police tried to reach Harrison for hours after he failed to respond to calls and door knocks. At 9:45 p.m., officers forced their way into the apartment.

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"That was a father and son, and a more tragic event you wouldn't come across," Thurtell said, ABC North Coast reports.

In July 2023, Roome had taken out an apprehended domestic violence order against Harrison that was still in place to protect her and Rowan, Thurtell said, ABC North Coast reports.

In a GoFundMe set up to help Roome, organizer Belinda Olding wrote, “Rowan was a delightful little boy, full of joy and love for his family and friends. He loved the beach, music and swimming."

Olding added, "Rowan's family are devastated. No child should be killed by those who are meant to love and protect them."

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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