How the Data Analysis of a Hard Drive Solved a Double Murder Investigation

Written By: Ontrack

Date Published: Jun 14, 2017 12:00:00 AM

How the Data Analysis of a Hard Drive Solved a Double Murder Investigation

The Crime

One of the most amazing cases we have worked on is the data recovery from a hard drive that was being used as evidence in a double murder investigation. 

A woman had died at her home and was found next to another unknown dead body. Law enforcement suspected her husband. He was at home at the time of the incident but he had no recollection of what had happened, so the investigators searched for other answers through a hard drive data analysis.

In the husband's statement, he claimed that he had spent all evening playing online poker. The investigator in charge of the case asked for an analysis of the husband’s computer's hard drive. He claimed that he played poker regularly; most of the time with his friends, which forced him to use headphones to communicate as to not disturb his wife. He told the investigators that he participated in several tournaments at the same time, which took up a lot of his time, sometimes late into the evening.

Hard Drive Data Analysis

The analysis of the data on the hard drive revealed that the husband had spent the entire evening on his computer, playing online poker. There were short periods of absence, but the data showed they were less than three-minute intervals, which would have not given him enough time to go downstairs to commit a double murder. The reconstruction of the murder had determined that at least fifteen minutes would have been necessary for the murder to have taken place. The forensic pathologist had also estimated the time of death as being between 10 pm and 11 pm - when the husband was most active on his computer.

What actually happened? 

The investigators determined that the house was targeted by a thief who entered the house without a trace. The thief entered the room where the woman was to try and restrain her. To his shock, the woman was sewing and armed with very sharp scissors. Surprised and frightened by this stranger, she gave him a blow to the thorax in self-defense with the scissors. The man was mortally wounded but was able to stab the woman with the knife he had before collapsing. 

In this case, computer expertise helped to prove the innocence of the husband, thus enabling the investigators to turn to other possibilities. The expertise of Ontrack is very useful in many cases, but here it is truly one of our most unique cases! 


KLDiscovery Ontrack, LLC, 9023 Columbine Road Eden Prairie, MN 55347, United States (see all locations)