- A missing 15 years old girl was located using her online activity on her Nintendo Switch.
- The minor was abducted from her hometown in Virginia and was moved to Arizona by the predator, where she became a victim of child exploitation.
- Eleven days after the abduction, she was found at the abductor’s apartment, thanks to Nintendo’s assistance with locating her console’s IP address.
- The 28 years old abductor has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.
FBI tracked down a missing 15 years old girl utilizing online activity on her Nintendo Switch. The teenager whose name is being kept anonymous due to her age was lured into moving to Arizona by the kidnapper, who then forced her to engage in inappropriate activities to create exploitative child images.
As reported by ABC15 Arizona, the case started when the teenager befriended 28 years old Ethan Roberts on the internet who later turned out to be a predator. Ethan talked her into moving to Tolleson, Arizona with him. The girl disappeared from her home in Virginia in August 2022 leading to her family starting an immediate street search and reporting.
However, Ethan made a fatal mistake and that was letting the teenager carry her Nintendo Switch along. She used her console to download games and log on to YouTube. Her online activity was instantly noticed by a friend who reported it to the relevant authorities. The FBI then contacted Nintendo and requested their assistance with the case.
According to court documents, the Japanese company retrieved the IP address of the Switch being used by the girl which turned out to be the turning point in the missing child case. The IP address was utilized by the authorities to find out the girl’s location. As soon as her location was tracked down, the Tolleson police surrounded Ethan’s apartment and he was arrested on the scene.
The local authorities were more or less surprised by the way the case turned out to be. The director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Frank Milstead talked to ABC15 about the case and said the Nintendo Switch’s activity and its role in locating the minor was “nothing that anybody even had thought of” at that point. He further appreciated the positive influence of technology on teenagers.
The fact that somebody else down the road – another child – was bright enough to go, ‘Hey, look, my friend is online, and she’s been missing, and I need to tell somebody,'” reported Frank Milstead.
Additionally, referring to Nintendo Switch’s involvement with the case, social volunteer, Keitra Coleman dragged the criminal saying, “he definitely underestimated that part.” In April this year, Ethan was subsequently sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. His charges included the creation of explicit child images and the transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in inappropriate activities.
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