Documents claim Atrium Health nurse practitioner used Amazon Alexa to spy on victim

A nurse practitioner is being accused of stalking a woman through an Amazon Alexa.
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 6:22 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A psychiatric nurse practitioner for Atrium Health who was on a leave of absence from his job is facing charges for violating a domestic violence protection order and felony stalking.

Dusty Harris, 47, allegedly violated a protection order by texting a victim from an unrecognized Google phone number according to an affidavit to obtain an arrest warrant.

The number might have been unrecognized by the victim, but the music played on her Amazon Alexa device led her to believe it was Harris.

“[The] Victim states that defendant was texting her titles of various song titles and artists that mention women who cheat. Victim states that throughout the day, she played the song ‘1,000 Miles Away’ on her Amazon Alexa audio device multiple times for her daughter,” according to the warrant.

It was after playing the song and the subsequent text message that the victim made the connection.

“The anonymous number texted her ‘1,000 Miles Away?’ Victim stated that she made the connection that the unrecognized number came from the defendant, as the Alexa audio device was a device defendant gave the victim and was linked to his Amazon account, which gives him access to what music is played on the device,” according to the warrant.

WBTV spoke to the victim on the phone and she said Harris is her ex-boyfriend who she met working at Atrium Health several years ago. She says they share two children together.

She told WBTV that after she decided to leave him, he repeatedly showed up at the house she was staying at with her parents. She says she called police to report him numerous times.

In one instance, she filed a police report against him for forcible fondling. According to the report, police removed a gun from the home.

In addition to using Amazon Alexa to taunt her, the victim claims he used YouTube to communicate with her, by writing messages that would show up for her in the search history.

She also told WBTV she discovered Ring video cameras in the house they shared, which he was using to record her throughout the day.

Forensics and cybersecurity expert Clark Walton, with Reliance Forensics LLC, told WBTV cases like this are not uncommon.

“It used to be one party would leave the house and that was sort of the end of it, and now it’s they’ve packed up and left but maybe they’re still jointly logged into their Amazon, their Netflix,” Walton said.

He says some people may need to consider their accounts when leaving a relationship.

“It may be you need to go get a new email address, or phone number if you were under someone else’s account,” he said. “If it’s your Apple ID, they may be able to even see your text messages and things coming across.”

While scary for any victim, harassment via technology does provide law enforcement with evidence.

“If something unfortunately were to happen that would involve law enforcement, that may then give law enforcement a roadmap of hey I need to go to Amazon for this, I need to go to Apple for that and so forth,” he said.

At the time of the incidents and subsequent arrest Harris hasn’t been actively working according to a spokesperson for Atrium Health.

“At Atrium Health, we work hard to create a safe space that provides for health, hope and healing – for all. We’re deeply troubled by the serious allegations being made against Mr. Harris, who was on a leave of absence from his position as a nurse practitioner at the time of his arrest. He remains on leave, pending the results of further investigation and the legal process,” a spokesperson for Atrium Health said in an email to WBTV.

Harris was booked into the Mecklenburg County Jail on March 3, and released on March 7. He faces two charges for violating the domestic violence protection order, and one felony charge for stalking.