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Facebook posts and wearable tech used to solve troubling murder case

Facebook posts and wearable tech used to solve troubling murder case
© John Roman | Dreamstime.com

Some of the things we're able to do with modern technology are amazing. With smartphones, self-driving cars and virtual assistants helping us around the house it can feel like we're living in the future.

There are also health-tracking wearables that help us lead healthier lives. Now, police are using these handy gadgets to help solve crimes.

In December 2015, Connie Dabate was shot and killed in her family's Connecticut home with a gun her husband purchased a few months earlier. Connie's husband, Richard Dabate, told police that an intruder fought the gun out of his hands and used it to kill his wife.

Here is a timeline for the day of the murder as described to police by the victim's husband:

Richard Dabate told police that he left for work around 8:30 the morning of the murder and his wife was leaving shortly after to workout at the YMCA. He dropped his sons off at the bus stop on the way to work.

About five minutes later, he received an alert on his phone saying the family's home alarm system had been activated. Dabate said he then started heading home to see what was going on and arrived about 9 a.m. Upon arrival, he told police that he found a tall, stocky man wearing a mask rummaging through a walk-in closet.

He recalled while he was fighting with the intruder, he heard his wife arrive at home and enter through the garage door. He shouted a warning for her to run.

Dabate said the trespasser immobilized him during the struggle and then went after his wife. They all ended up in the basement, where Dabate said he witnessed the man shoot Connie. The man ran off after another brief struggle.

Dabate explained he then pressed the panic button on his alarm and called 911.

How Fitbit helped crack a murder case

A little over a year later, investigators concluded that Dabate was lying and have charged him with murdering his wife. Police used data acquired from Connie's Fitbit health-tracker and other electronics to help crack the case.

Police determined that Dabate's timeline doesn't align with the information stored on Connie's Fitbit. She also posted items on Facebook from her home's IP address that contradict Dabate's timeline.

District Attorney Craig Stedman said, "To say it is rare to use Fitbit records would be safe. It is an electronic footprint that tracks your movements, it is a great tool for investigators to use. We can also get the information much faster than some other types of evidence such as DNA tests."

Fitbits are not the only gadgets being used to help police solve crime. Amazon recently released audio files recorded by an Echo as evidence in a murder case. We could be seeing a trend here.

What do you think about police using health-trackers and virtual assistant recordings to help solve cases? Leave a comment and let us know.

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