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A key factor in placing any person at the scene of a crime is obtaining evidence that can place an identified suspect as it relates to the scene of the crime. Previously discussed methods of physical surveillance and obtaining records are usually the best evidence of placing a suspect at a specific place and at a specific time, but as most investigations involve reacting to incidents, this may not be always possible.A key factor in placing any person at the scene of a crime is obtaining evidence that can place an identified suspect as it relates to the scene of the crime. Previously discussed methods of physical surveillance and obtaining records are usually the best evidence of placing a suspect at a specific place and at a specific time, but as most investigations involve reacting to incidents, this may not be always possible.

Second best evidence is the examination of an electronic device that had been possessed by a suspect. The only reason why this is not as good as physically placing a person at a scene is because unless there is additional corroborating information, a forensic examination of electronic media by itself cannot place a person at that device.

Investigations need to establish where the electronic device has existed by date, time, and location based on the device’s activity. As there will be a multitude of dates and locations collected, our ever growing timeline of suspect activity comes into play to keep track of the evidence chronologically. In a case where several electronic devices have been used by a suspect, the amount of data expands exponentially.

With our goal of placing devices in the hands of the suspect, the more devices we have to examine, the more likely we will be able to accomplish this task using all available information. By obtaining the likely physical location of an electronic device through forensic analysis and also obtaining the physical locations of a suspect through means other than a forensic analysis, inferences can be made as to the likelihood the suspect controlled the device. Not a certainty, but definitely a piece of circumstantial evidence to build upon.

From: Book Excerpt: Placing the Suspect Behind the Keyboard by Brett Shavers

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