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Nintendo Switch used by FBI to find abducted girl

"The bad guys need to know that the police are watching."

Nintendo Switch console stood up from back
Image credit: Nintendo

A missing girl was found last year when the FBI used her Nintendo Switch to locate her.

The unidentified 15-year-old girl went missing last summer, 3rd August 2022, when she befriended 28-year-old Ethan Roberts, who forced her into making child sex abuse images.

Roberts travelled from Arizona to Virginia to abduct her, reported ABC 15 (via GoNintendo), but allowed the teen to bring her Switch console, according to federal court records.

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She then used the console to download a game and watch YouTube. A friend saw her name pop up online and the relevant authorities were contacted.

With help from Nintendo to retrieve the console's IP address, the FBI were able to locate the girl 11 days after she first disappeared. She was returned safely to her family.

In April this year, Roberts was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for charges including the creation of child sex abuse images and the transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

"It's probably nothing that anybody even had thought of at this point," said retired Arizona DPS director Frank Milstead, who was not involved directly in the case. "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.'"

"Everything's connected to Wi-Fi to LTE (long-term evolution devices)," he continued. "A cell phone, an iPad, a watch, whatever it is - you can use those things to locate people."

"The bad guys need to know that the police are watching and that you're leaving a digital footprint everywhere you go. We will find you."

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