Crime

Police Use Dead Woman's Fitbit to Solve Her Murder

| by Sarah Zimmerman

Police used data from a dead woman's Fitbit to track her last movements and solve her murder. 

Connie Dabate was found dead on Dec. 23, 2015, according to the Daily Mail. Her husband, Richard, told Connecticut police that a man who sounded like actor Vin Diesel broke into their home, tied him up, and shot his wife, killing her.   

As police investigated the case, they found the husband was having an extra-marital affair. The other woman was pregnant and reportedly began pressuring Richard to leave his wife. 

Richard texted his lover that he and his wife "were on the same page" about the divorce. An investigation into the wife's electronic devices uncovered a 2014 document titled "Why I want a divorce."

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Police records also show that Richard used a secret credit card to buy flowers for his lover. He also reportedly used the card at local hotels and strip clubs.

But a friend of the Dabates said Connie loved her husband. In many text messages between the couple, she calls him "buttercup" or "sweet pea." 

On the day of the murder, The Hartford Courant reports the texts to her husband had a completely different tone. She accused him of lying about their Comcast cable package and was infuriated that their month's bill had doubled.

"Great day off and merry [expletive] Christmas," read her last text sent to him.

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The authorities became suspicious of Richard's story of his wife's death. They downloaded data from Connie's Fitbit, which tracked her movements. To their surprise, they found that Connie was still moving almost an hour after Richard told police that she had died.

"To say it is rare to use Fitbit records would be safe," said Craig Stedman, a district attorney in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. "It is an electronic footprint that tracks your movements. It is a great tool for investigators to use. We can also get the information much faster than some other types of evidence such as DNA tests."

On the night of the murder, Richard was found in his home with his arm and leg secured to a folding chair with a zip tie, according to The Hartford Courant. He had superficial knife wounds and said a masked intruder shot his wife. He said he was able to fend off the man with a blowtorch.

Days after his wife's murder, he put in a claim for her $475,000 life insurance policy and withdrew $93,000 from an investment account in his wife's name.

He was arrested on charges of murder, tampering with evidence, and making a false statement. He was released on $1 million bail on April 19 and is due in court April 28. 

Sources: Daily Mail, The Hartford Courant (2) / Photo credit: Mack Male/Flickr

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