In a real-life tale that looks like it’s straight out of a gripping thriller, an extraordinary rescue mission unfolded that saw a 15-year-old girl return home 2,000 miles from her home in Virginia. The FBI used a Nintendo Switch to discover her location and rescue her from her captor.
This gripping story revolves around a surprising yet ingenious partnership, as authorities push the boundaries of technology using an unlikely tool: the widely acclaimed Nintendo Switch game console. On one hand, people can commit many crimes online, but this time the FBI used the power of online games to solve the crime.
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The FBI found a missing girl 2,000 miles away with the help of a Nintendo Switch
Picture via Reddit
In a harrowing incident, Ethan Roberts abducted a 15-year-old girl from his home in Virginia on August 22, 2022. As first reported by ABC15 they connected online, which led Roberts to travel to meet her. Alarmingly, he pushed her into porn later on. Court records revealed that Roberts allowed the girl to bring her Nintendo Switch to him. While using the device to browse, watch videos and download games, her watchful friend detected online activity, quickly raising awareness.
Working closely with Nintendo, the FBI managed to track down the device’s IP address, following the digital breadcrumb trail it left behind. This led them to the exact location of Ethan Roberts’ apartment, allowing for his quick arrest and the young girl’s safe return home after enduring an incredibly traumatic and harrowing 11-day period.
Following the incident, Roberts faced federal charges relating to child pornography and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. As a result, in April 2023, he elected to enter a plea deal, which ultimately resulted in a significant 30-year prison sentence in a federal correctional facility.
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The case of Ethan Roberts and the kidnapped minor is a stark reminder of the dangers of online interactions. It emphasizes the crucial role of technology and vigilant individuals in detecting and addressing situations of concern. May this serve as a call for increased awareness, proactive communication and collective responsibility to protect the vulnerable in our digital world.
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