Home SECURITY FBI tracked down missing girl on digital trail

FBI tracked down missing girl on digital trail

FBI tracked down missing girl on digital trail


Nintendo Switch as a rescuer: the FBI tracked down the missing girl on a digital trail

How a game console helped investigate a non-toy case.

Last year in Arizona FBI using Nintendo Switch tracked down missing 15 year old girl. She was last seen in Virginia on August 3, 2022 prior to her abduction. The district was plastered with ads. It was found out that the girl spent most of her time at home and could hardly escape.

Street searches did not bring results, and the parents gradually fell into despair. At that time, the girl was already 3,000 kilometers from home, on a bus bound for another state.

According to court records, a 28-year-old man named Ethan Roberts befriended her online. In Virginia, where they agreed to meet, Ethan took the girl, took her out of town and subsequently forced her to engage in child pornography.

However, Roberts allowed the child to take the Nintendo Switch game console with him. The device left a digital footprint behind it every time it connected to the internet.

The Nintendo Switch has a feature that alerts friends when a user is online. This feature, designed for company games, may have saved the teen’s life. A friend who knew the girl had disappeared noticed her activity and alerted the police.

With the help of Nintendo, they were able to obtain the console’s IP address, which led to Roberts’ place of residence. Eleven days after the child’s disappearance, the FBI and Tolleson police surrounded the man’s apartment and arrested him.

The girl returned safely to her family in Virginia. All this could have gone on much longer or ended tragically if not for Nintendo.

“Probably no one thought this was possible until now,” said Frank Milstead, former director of the Arizona State DPS. “The fact that another kid was smart enough to think, “Wow, my friend is online, but she disappeared, I need to urgently tell someone about this”

Although Milstead was not involved in the case, he claims that police often monitor digital devices to catch suspects and search for missing people.

“Everything is connected to Wi-Fi or LTE,” Milstead says. “Mobile phone, iPad, watch, whatever – all these things can be used to find people”

“Criminals need to know that the police are watching them and what they are leaving behind. digital footprint wherever they go,” Frank summed up. “We will find you.”

Ethan Roberts confessed to the crime and was sentenced in April to 30 years in prison.


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