MIDLOTHIAN (CBS11 NEWS) – Police sources have told CBS11 they are relying heavily on the New York Police Department, and its high-tech tracking devices, to help them solve the murder of a popular fitness instructor.
Experts with the NYPD were brought in to help analyze the “pings” from cell towers, in hopes of finding the “electronic footprint” of Missy Bevers’ killer in the early hours of April 18.
Sources say they hope the killer, dressed in police gear, had an active phone that sent signals to surrounding cell towers as he – or she – confronted Bevers with a hammer.
Those signals could then draw a blueprint leading back to the attacker’s identity, investigators told CBS11.
They said no one is better at doing that than the NYPD. They have been known to use sophisticated tracking devices called “Stingrays.” According to the American Civil Liberties Union, since 2008 the NYPD has used the technology in about 1000 cases.
The cell site simulators mimic cell towers.
“[A phone] will automatically connect to the Stingray without any control from the user. It mines data off the phone, very quickly,” said Pete Schulte, former police officer and criminal defense attorney.
Schulte says if investigators do in fact use the cell site simulators, he believes they’d focus of the church where the mystery person in tactical gear attacked Missy, and the Bevers’ neighborhood.
“If someone keeps coming back to the crime scene, which happens a lot in murder cases, they are going to be able to identify the person because of the data coming from the Stingray,” said Schulte.
Missy Bevers’ murder was the first murder in Midlothian in the past seven years. Oak Farms Dairy is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the suspect’s arrest and indictment. Since the surveillance video was released, police have gotten several tips. The FBI is also assisting with the investigation.
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