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Chapter 16

How to Preserve Your Loved One's Computers, Laptops, Tablets, Cell Phones, & Digital Storage Devices for Clues

Don't Touch Them!

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  Do not use or alter the missing-person's desktop, laptop, tablet, cell phone, external hard drive, thumb drive or other digital device.
Do not turn-off, turn-on, use, or otherwise alter any of the missing-person's digital devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, or digital storage devices such as external hard drives or thumb (flash) drives.

To do otherwise may jeopardize critical evidence about the missing-person's whereabouts — or the circumstances surrounding his or her disappearance — that a computer forensics analyst may be able to obtain after a detailed examination of the devices.

Simply leave them in the state they are in and ask the detective in charge of your family member's case to collect the devices and submit them to a qualified computer forensic analyst for a thorough examination.

The same goes for the missing-person's social-media and email accounts. Do not log-on to them or otherwise alter them as this may destroy critical evidence related to the missing-person's case.

 
  A Practical Guide To Coping With Cyberstalking, by the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research
   
 
  Electronic Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for First Responders, Second Edition, by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

Learn more about preserving digital evidence by reading "How you can preserve digital evidence and why it is important?," by Haider M. al-Khateeb and Phil Cobley, pp. 50-62, A Practical Guide To Coping With Cyberstalking, by the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research, UK: Andrews UK Limited, 2015, 154 pages.

Although very dated in many respects, this is another good digital evidence resource: Electronic Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for First Responders, Second Edition, by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Office of Justice Programs, NCJ 219941, 2008, 74 pages.

 


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