Man’s Lack of Digital Footprint Baffles Police and Hampers Search for His Killer

WELSH0041398971703Philip Welsh, a 65-year-old taxi dispatcher, lived a very simple life in Silver Springs — no internet, no email, no text messages, no electronic footprint to speak of. He had the habit of leaving his door unlocked and letting neighbors come and go as they please.

One night last February, Welsh watched a bit of TV, then sacked out for the night. Someone entered Welsh’s home in the middle of the night and brutally murdered him to death. It remains the only unsolved murder in Montgomery County, Maryland this year.

The Washington Post has a story that serves as both a touching profile about Welsh’s life of quiet solitude and a look at modern police forensics that relies so heavily on our electronic breadcrumbs to solve crimes.

“Detectives have tried to piece together the final weeks of Philip’s life by talking to those who were close to him. And it is not just the dearth of electronic records that present a challenge. Detectives have found no enemies of Philip and very little physical evidence. They declined to say how he was killed — only that it was from blunt force trauma — out of caution that doing so could compromise the investigation. Jones, the police captain, said he does not think the case was random. ‘We’re still pounding, and we’re still talking to people,’ he said. ‘It’s frustrating.'”

A strange peak into modern police investigations that aren’t quite yet CSI but do rely on more than just pounding the pavement.

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