Wow... "Police in doing their damn job shocker".
Actually, I am shocked...
A "kidnapped" nine-year-old Massachusetts girl is safely back at home after a team effort by an enterprising local cop and deputy fire chief which exploited the signal from her mobile phone and Street View to track her to a motel in Virginia, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports. Natalie Maltais went missing on Saturday …
Serving Mobile Location Centre
Grief, when I worked at a Finnish-based major telecom. network manufacturer, I used to travel to US to train the network operators on that! I was the only trainer...
Now, it's proved at least once that it was worth it's weight in children. Good feeling....
No warrant needed of course, since the child is a minor and her parents can give permission.
But just to point out that in the US, they *do* need a warrant if they don't have permission and the judges find the rozzers often don't have probable cause to request that info and reject the request:
So presumbly the UK rozzers often don't have probably cause too, only there's no judge there is reject their request and they get their info regardless.
I'd like to think UK rozzers are sooooo much better and soooo much more professional than their US counterparts, but I have no evidence to support such an assertion and common sense tells me they are just people not superheroes.
So this must prove that mobile phone signals are actually GOOD for children.
How long until kids get mobile phones embedded in them, Captain Cyborg style?
Seriously though, if I thought that something like this would be possible in the UK (I'm on about the police actually doing the investigation work like they did in this story) then I'd be more inclinded to give my kids mobile phones (even if they didn't have any credit on them).
The only new thing here is the use of Google Street View. Missing Persons Search Teams (and yes, I work in one) have been using triangulation data provided by mobile telcos for years now. Normally we would either look it up on a map or (more often than not) we'd have local knowlege of the area and would have a fair idea where the signal was coming from.
The only new thing is that, rather than phone their colleagues in the local area and say "we keep getting a signal from this area. What's the most likely?" they wasted time on Google Street View. How is that clever?
Incidentally, the triangulation thing works well in most areas but is pretty useless by the coast. Obviously, if you don't have masts roughly either side of the signal it's pretty near impossible to triangulate.
So, if you do want to kidnap someone and the ARE determined to use a mobile phone whilst doing it, stick to the coast. They'll never find you!
"At this point, Athol cop Todd Neale had the bright idea of tracking the pair using the mobile phone - a technique made possible by legislation which since 2005 "
Why is this a "bright idea"? Surely since it's been possible for over 3 years, it should be standard procedure in cases like this!
I think the hint may be in the word "Guardian"
Personally if I was the guardian of a kid and a relative of the chile was visiting, and said that I wouldn't be seeing the child again I would probably not let them leave the house with the child in the 1st place.
It may be a simple story, but it is a case of somebody doing the right thing.
"So, if you do want to kidnap someone and the ARE determined to use a mobile phone whilst doing it, stick to the coast. They'll never find you!"
Bassey, you are under arrest for revealing information possibly of use to a person for activities not approved by The State. Stay where you are, the helicopters are on their way...
So how did goggle prove beneficial? Presumably a quick call to the local plod saying "we think xxx and yyy are at zzz, can you go pick them up?" (which is what happened) would have resulted in local plod going to said junction ('intersection') and seeing a motel they might use their initiative.
Oh, I see where the problem lies: local plod + initiative != reality.
Christ, even Paris could've worked it out.
Seeing as the grandmother had basically told them what she was planning and wouldn't have been very hard to catch, could the police have split into two teams, one doing things the old fashioned way by going to her house and asking her contacts questions, the other doing it the new fangled, slow-news-day-friendly way, and see which found the girl first? The first cop to return her to mom's trailer could win a donut.
Even if, morally speaking, you believe that family members should be allowed to see each other whenever both of them want to - not something I'd disagree with myself to be honest, I think family is one of the most important things we have - no one, anywhere, ever, can kidnap another human being and claim that's OK just because they're family.
Dare I mention a high-profile recent UK case of a now-infamous mother kidnapping her own daughter? That was the same thing, and no one anywhere thinks that was acceptable, do they?
If the cops had the number and were speaking to both of them, I think they would have a good idea what was going on so why are the charges "as-yet undertermined"? If the child was picked up "for a weekend visit" how could she go "missing on Saturday"? Who are "the child's guardians" and how did they come about to have custody? Methinks Big Brother has a hand in this and it would be nice to know why if just for completeness sake. Bah, Ath-holes, the lot of them.
Also, did the cops in Virginia burst in with a fully pumped and prepped SWAT team, all Elian Gonzales style or did they take the rational and sedate approach of knocking on the door? Before anyone answers, can I put 100 on the former?
"extensive experience using GPS technology" = has a Garmin in his car.
>>The only new thing is that, rather than phone their colleagues in the local area and say "we keep getting a signal from this area. What's the most likely?" they wasted time on Google Street View. How is that clever?
Wasted time? sounds quick to me, probably quicker than trying to find a physical map, and probably far more useful to have that info available when they phoned up the local cop shop, after all, having a common frame of reference would speed up the process (ahem... just like using a map)
I think that Bassey is suffering from a green-eyed monster, and giving advice to would be kidnappers how to avoid being caught? now that is really clever.......
PS. some modern phones (with real GPS) will send actual GPS coordinates when phoning emergency services (obviously within limitations, last "known - outdoor" location etc.) but coupled with the cell information it's very accurate (even by the coast).
All this talk of "kidnapping" presupposes that the courts have it right. The term isn't being used in the normal sense of the child being taken from their parents, but of the child being taken /by/ a parent.
To know how the child felt would help me to decide how to judge this case, which otherwise is just an article about (possibly random) law enforcement.
Only the custodial parents or guardians actually have a right to be with the child. I don't know what part of the world you're from, but here in the US, 'kidnappings' of children by non-custodial parents or relatives do happen, and with surprising frequency - not all families are happy and get along well. If the grandmother implied to whoever had legal guardianship to the girl that she was taking the child away and they wouldn't see her again, that's kidnapping, even if the girl doesn't object to being taken, even if she let the girl talk to her parents, and even if the kidnapper and child are related.
>I hate to break it to you but the definition of "news" is not "an entirely new concept never before conceived by man in 4 dimensional space / time".
I've just emailed our tech overlords to see if we can have this at the top of the comments form. It would save all of us so very much time and stress and screaming.
No warrant was issued because of the consent of the parent, but with the evidence up front before the GPS trace occurred, police probably already had reasonable suspicion of abduction/kidnapping. If push came to shove, they could probably present their case before the appropriate judge and get a suitable warrant and still end up at the same result. It was simply more expedient to employ parental consent.
"But just to point out that in the US, they *do* need a warrant if they don't have permission..."
Tell that to Bush and the NSA. What you meant to say was that in the US, they are legally required to get a warrant. But the law only matters when you have someone willing to enforce it. And most government workers are extremely unlikely to enforce the law against other government workers (especially when the law-violaters hold more power than the law-enforcers).
"man gets co-ordinates, man types co-ordinates into google maps.... and google looks gets some 'awww' time.... boring....."
A kidnapped child is safely recovered without harm (and presumably without violence), and you call it "boring". We would be lucky and extremely fortunate if all kidnappings were this "boring".
I don't think most of you really listened to the story. Great they found a kid using cell phone tech and street view but really did they find the kid? The girl has "Guardians" , probably meaning she lives with STRANGERS, NOT PARENTS, STRANGERS!!! If another family member was kidnapping from another family member, NOW that is different story, NOT COOL!!!
So a gung-ho cop got her away from her grandmother only to bring her back to her "GUARDIANS" ; I say job well done, another one finger salute to you.
1) Grandma comes over to take the kid away for the weekend. From the tone of the article, this was an expected event. No problems here.
2) Again from the tone of the article, it seems relations between the current guardians and Grandma's side of the family are rather strained.
3) Grandma has relations on Rhodes Island.
4) Guardian tell Police that Grandma threatened a kidnapping.
Am I the only who thinks the Police over-reacted? Yeah, maybe they should have kept an eye on the kid and made sure Grandma returned the child safely at the agreed-upon time, but so far as I can Grandma did nothing wrong - we only have the words of a (possibly manipulating) guardian as to what actually occurred.
Unless Police uncovered evidence of flight (in the legal sense) or the guardian taped the conversation, I think Grandma has fair grounds for civil action against the guardian.
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