A murdered woman’s FitBit data led Connecticut police to arrest her husband in connection with the death, the Hartford Courant reports.
In December 2015, Connie Dabate was shot in her home with a .357 Magnum that her husband, Richard Dabate, 40, had bought a few months before.
After more than a year of investigations, the Hartford police charged Dabate with his wife’s murder, tampering with physical evidence, and making false statements to the police. He is currently out on bail but due to appear in court on Friday, April 28.
The couple had been fighting over money for several months and, in November 2015, Dabate texted his girlfriend that he and Connie were getting “a slow-moving divorce.”
At the time of her death, Dabate told police that his wife was murdered by a “tall, obese man” that broke into their home and chased Connie into the basement before shooting her dead.
Police dogs did not pick up the scent of an armed intruder however. The data obtained from Connie’s FitBit exercise tracker showed investigators that she was moving around nearly an hour after her husband said she had been killed.
The police used “alarm system, computers, cellphones, social media postings and Connie Dabate’s Fitbit to create a timeline that contradicted Richard Dabate’s statements to police,” the case’s warrant said.
“To say it is rare to use Fitbit records would be safe,” Lancaster, Pa., district attorney Craig Stedman told the Hartford Courant.
Here are how the conflicting murder narratives unfolded:
- Dabate initially told investigators that he left the house for work at 8:30 a.m on Dec. 23. Dabate claimed that, after getting a house alarm notification on his phone, he got back around 9 a.m. when he “saw a masked man – about 6-foot-2 and stocky with a Vin Deisel voice ‘looking through things’ in the walk-in closet.” At 8:46, data from the Fitbit showed that Connie left to drive for a spinning class at the local YMCA. Computer data showed that Dabate sent an email telling his boss that he would be late at 9:04 and, by 9:18, checked the page with the class schedules on the website of the YMCA. Security cameras indicated that Connie left the center at 9:18 and, through evidence from the FitBit data, started walking again at 9:23 a.m (alarm records indicate that the couple’s garage door was opened at the same time.) Connie posted two Facebook videos and sent a message to a friend between 9:40 and 9:46 from her home’s IP address before, at 10:05, making her last registered movement on the FitBit. At 10:11 a.m., Dabate’s key fob set off the panic alarm for their home’s security system, which placed an emergency call to the police by 10:16. It was only at 10:20 that Dabate himself made a 911 call to the police about his wife’s death.