January 26, 2023
In years past, I have facetiously suggested that there are three important rules to being a successful criminal. One, do it by yourself. Two, don’t do it drunk. Three, don’t talk about.
I think I need to add a fourth rule: Don’t leave digital footprints.
As smart technology has become rapidly more advanced, so, too, has the ability of law enforcement to track down miscreants. For instance, in Massachusetts Brian Walshe has been charged with the murder of his wife, whose body has not been found. Some of the evidence that the prosecutors have against him resulted from a forensic search of his son’s computer. It revealed Google searches for “How long before a body starts to smell,” “10 ways to dispose of a dead body if you really need to,” and “How long for someone to be missing to inherit.” Then there’s the security video at his neighborhood Home Depot which shows him purchasing cleaning supplies, a mop, a tarp… and a hatchet.
Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four Idaho college students, was also tripped up by security cameras, as well as cell phone data along with familial DNA matching. This despite the fact that Kohberger was a criminology student himself.
And in my neck of the woods, Heaven Lee was driving a rented vehicle when it sent out an automated distress signal, leading to a police stop and, ultimately, the alleged discovery of some 2,200 fentanyl pills — with an estimated street value of $25,000 — and 182 grams of methamphetamine.
Lee has since disappeared. If she’s smart, she’ll get rid of her cell phone and she won’t google “how to avoid capture when there’s an arrest warrant out for me.”