In a First, iPhone Health Data Used to Re-Enact and Confirm Murder Scene

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 15 Jan 2018


Apple’s Health app acts as a central hub for all the health data collected by one’s iPhone and Apple Watch. Apple’s intention with this data is to show users how active they are throughout their day and keep a track of their physical activities. In a first now, the data recovered from the Health app has helped the police in providing crucial evidence related to a crime.

The Health app on an iPhone 6s and higher automatically tracks a user’s activity including the steps taken and the floors climbed.

Hussein K, who has already admitted his guilt, was accused of raping and murdering 19-year-old Maria Ladenburdger in October 2016. Her body was then dragged and thrown into the River Dresiam. The trial for the case started in a district court in Freiburg last September. Hussein K was linked to the scene of the crime by the police as his hair strand was found at the crime scene.

The police got their hands on Hussein’s iPhone which he refused to unlock. The investigating officer then took the help of a cyber-forensics firm in Munich to break into the device. Then, the data retrieved from the Health app of the said iPhone gave a detailed overview of his physical activity, which included periods of strenuous activity like climbing stairs.

As well as locating Hussein’s movements, the phone also suggested periods of more strenuous activity, including two peaks, which the app put down to him “climbing stairs”.

Data suggesting the suspect was climbing stairs could correlate to him dragging his victim down a riverbank and climbing back up, police said.

A police officer of similar build as Hussein K. went back to the crime scene and reenacted it again. The data from the iPhone was then corroborated with that of Hussein which showed him climbing stairs thereby confirming investigators that the accused had dragged the body and threw it into the river.

This is the first time that Health data from an iPhone has been used to confirm how a crime took place and nab the prime suspect. If anything, this case could very well set a precedent that other investigators and law enforcement agencies will follow in the future.

[Via BBC]