When two 13-year-old Andover, Minn., girls went missing last week, the first place Anoka County Sheriff’s Office detectives looked was for the digital clues in their iPods and smartphones. It worked. The girls were soon found in the basement of a 23-year-old Burnsville man, Casey Lee Chinn, who is now charged with felony criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and solicitation of a child.
“That [missing girls] case was solved by a detective in the lab, not by any field work or eyewitness accounts. It was digital forensics,” Commander Paul Sommer told the Star Tribune. “It’s become an investigation imperative. You try to find the personal electronics.”
In the case of the missing Andover girls, parents reported their disappearance at 9:36 p.m. Monday. Detective Pat O’Hara searched one of the girl’s iPods found in her room and discovered two weeks of sexually explicit texts with the final text “Be there” received at 8:31 p.m. Monday.
Police were searching the suspect’s home by the next morning.