Police Crack A Murder Case Using Fitbit

by
Laurel Dammann
A husband's story of his wife's murder was not adding up to police. A look at the woman's Fitbit revealed that they'd been told some sinister lies.

Flickr: Andri Koolme

Fitbit appears to be more than just a useful gadget to help meet health goals; it's become a crime-fighting tool and helped police crack some troubling cases.

In Ellington, Connecticut, law enforcement used the device to track the last moments of a dead woman and were able to gather enough evidence to charge her husband with her murder.

Victim Connie Dabate's husband, Richard Dabate, called the police in December 2015 to report his wife's murder. According to the Hartford Courant, she had been shot in their basement by a .357 Magnum. Dabate told police that a masked intruder was responsible and had shot his wife as she tried to escape. He said that the intruder had tied him to a chair and tortured him with a blow torch as well after a violent struggle. 

Detectives grew suspicious of Dabate's story when they found no signs of a forced entry into the home or any evidence of an intruder. Using Connie Dabate's Fitbit device, they were able to catch her husband in a telling lie.

The Fitbit recorded her last movements to be at 10:05 a.m., 42 minutes after the police originally believed she had been murdered based on information provided by Dabate. This was a key piece of evidence in the case against Dabate, and he was charged with his wife's murder and arraigned in Rockville court on April 17. He is currently released on bail while he awaits trial.

"It is an electronic footprint that tracks your movements … it is a great tool for investigators to use," District Attorney Craig Stedman told the Hartford Courant. "We can also get the information much faster than some other types of evidence such as DNA tests."

Technology is no longer simply something we tinker with at a desk, but something we take with us wherever we go and use to manage our lives. It's not always a good thing, but in this case, while a portable device could not prevent a tragedy, it will likely pave the way to justice. 

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Banner and thumbnail credit: Flickr user Andri Koolme

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