Detective Baumhover’s Review of Ring Doorbell Footage [58th Tranche]

The date of Baumhover’s legal warrant to look into the doorbell footage is worth noting. November 14 was just 5 days prior to the sentencing hearing, and after the plea deal had been signed. This suggests the detective gave some credence to the possibility that Shan’ann’s BAC may have indicated she’d arrived home inebriated.

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Sinister Signals from the Router in the Watts Family Murders – and what it might mean

Given the colossal amount of data in the Discovery Documents, it’s difficult to imagine information might be missing. It’s difficult to see what’s not there when there’s a mountain of evidence tilting and towering against the sky.

It takes a long, rigorous analysis of the mountain of data before one begins to intuit cracks of information that should be there but simply aren’t. One example of this is the router data.

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First a disclaimer. The information below is of a highly technical nature. An expert, especially in regards to the Vivint system, and how [or whether] it piggybacks on a home’s WiFi network will be able to provide more clarity on how the digital system functions as an ecosystem, online and in terms of a smartphone.

The Netgear Router appears to have been located in the basement of the Watts home, right beside the staircase [coming down, on the left side]. You can view Officer Coonrod’s first view of the router from 21:50 onwards at this link. Bear in mind the first area Watts entered after leading Atkinson, her son and Officer Coonrod, was the basement. When he made this trip it was [I believe] to let Deeter out, but he may also have turned the router on if it was off. If so, it would have taken a few minutes to boot up.

If Watts did turn on the router, the phone review did not pick up any connection by Watts phone [or Shan’ann’s phone] to the router that afternoon.

From a cursory glance at the router in the relatively dark basement on August 13, roughly 3 minutes after Coonrod accesses the house for the first time, the router appears to be off. When you leave home, do you turn your router off? Most [I’d hazard a guess] do not.

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Whether the router was on or off is relevant because of an apparent gulf of missing data. When Shan’ann arrived home on the morning of her murder, her phone didn’t connect to the router, yet it automatically connected to the Wifi at the airport at 00:51.

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The same applies to Watts, when he returned home at 14:07, his phone – apparently – did not automatically connect to the router.

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Are these simply errors, oversights or omissions in the phone data review? Unlikely, since the extraction did note some connections to routers, though clearly none from Shan’ann’s phone except the last.

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The data extraction did recover sinister activity related to the router at 02:18, exactly half an hour after Shan’ann’s arrival.  Even the reviewer couldn’t explain what the “activity” was, but documented the time and described it as “unspecified activity”. It would be good to know what sort of digital activities could constitute this label.

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It is possible to log into the Netgear platform, and fiddle with the dashboard, just as it’s possible to go into browser settings and change metadata [including browser history].

It would make sense, if Shan’ann’s phone did automatically connect to the router, to erase that data from the router. He would want to and need to do that in order to conceal the fact that Shan’ann’s phone had [or hadn’t] left the building.

After murdering Shan’ann, Watts probably turned off her phone, and the router back on [temporarily]. This would have theoretically also allowed the Vivint security system to come back online, perhaps in terms of sending alerts to his phone.

It’s also possible that on the night of August 14th, Watts removed a pile of digital breadcrumbs that would have helped trace his and Shan’ann’s movement, including the router data. What the router data points towards is the sheer scale of Watts’ cover-up, as well as his premeditation.

In his first interview with FBI Agent Grahm Coder on the night of August 14, Watts was clearly aware that by turning off the Wifi, the ability to track the iPad was disabled…

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The Suitcase At the Bottom of the Stairs

Shan’ann’s suitcase at the bottom of the stairs wasn’t the same as the suitcases she took to North Carolina.

It was a smaller black case, ideal for a two day trip.

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Another maddening aspect of the tsunami of coverage is that there are only fleeting glimpses of the suitcase. You’d think the cops would start at that point, the last known point where Shan’ann left a trace of herself from the trip, but instead they’re everywhere else except looking at the case at the bottom of the stairs.

These are some of the glimpses I’ve been able to grab of it thus far.

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My impression was that the suitcase was left right at the foot of the stairs, but this case has been placed to the side of it, which would have taken two or three steps. Furthermore, Watts has left something of his own right beside it, a blue container, on the side of the case. It’s not clear what it is exactly.

While we’re on the subject of the suitcase, this footage provides some perspective of the motion detectors in the lounge. There appear to be just two, one in the corner by the couches, and another set higher up.

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When one is standing at the foot of the stairs, the small protruding wall blocks the coverage of the upper sensor. Presumably the sensor can detect movement above the first landing on the staircase.Fullscreen capture 20181204 200152Fullscreen capture 20181204 200203Fullscreen capture 20181204 200206

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There’s a strange moment in the footage where the officer asks Watts for information about the doorbell camera. Watts, who has been one great big disappointment in terms of ideas, interest or contributions, suddenly hits his stride. Literally. To explain how well he understands the system, he jogs at the door and shows – demonstrates – to the officer EXACTLY where the range of the doorbell camera extends to.

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There’s also another moment that was of interest to me, and will be of interest to those who have already read the TWO FACE series.  When detective Baumhover and Watts stand below the staircase shooting the breeze, Watts initially appears relaxed, then darts a few glances at his feet and at the floor. If you view the footage carefully, he does this when the detective breaks eye contact and looks away. Nickole Atkinson is also in the room, on his right.

We know Watts’ key tell when he’s nervous is swaying side to side, curling his lower lip and folding his arms. He starts doing that here too.

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When he is initially interrogated, in the kitchen, Watts is standing – from the perspective of the bodycam – between the view of the suitcase [and the stairs]. He’s blocking it, just as he seemed to do in Trinastich’s home when the officer wanted to view the surveillance footage.

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I won’t go into the reasons here, but I believe exactly in this area where Watts is standing, Shan’ann was murdered. She never made it up the stairs, and she never got into bed. There was also no argument, in fact no communication between them after she arrived home. The murder was the only message Watts wanted to send.

But what about the Vivint alerts showing no activity on the main level for over two and a half hours? There’s a well known saying in law, and in true crime, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, or, as I like to put it: the absence of evidence is also evidence.

In the same way Watts was able to hide data on his phone using the Secret Calculator, he knew how to outwit his own home security system. The 01:48 motion alert in the lounge probably came from the overhead sensor, while the one in the corner was neutralized [either digitally turned off, or rendered blind with a piece of paper] until he was finished with his nocturnal work.

Watts was painfully aware of the intricacies of the Vivint system because, while Shan’ann was away, she asked him to repair the dodgy garage sensor.

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Part of his dodgy explanation for Shan’ann leaving was that she left through the garage door. His point being, if she’d left that way, he’d have no way of knowing.

Maybe so, but he’d forgotten about the other sensor spying on his garage: Trisnatich’s.

Understanding the Vivint Technology System installed at 2825 Saratoga Trail

What does it mean that there was no activity on the main floor of the Watts home between 01:48 and 04:23? It means no one was on the main floor during that interval. Right?

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When Shan’ann opened the door to her home at 01:48, did she set off the exterior sensor or the interior motion sensors? Remember she entered, kicked off her shoes, moved to the the bottom of the staircase and apparently left her suitcase there. Her purse was also found on the kitchen island. When did it get there?

When a house is armed, setting off motion sensors sets off an alarm, something she wouldn’t want to do – it would awaken the children [assuming they were still alive], and her husband, not to mention the whole neighborhood.

There is a way to set the exterior alarms while having the motion sensors inside disabled – so they don’t go off alerting to the people who live there. There’s also a way to disarm all the sensors so none of them go off. Exterior alarms will nevertheless send alerts to let the user know which doors or windows are open.

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The system also cannot arm until these exterior sensors that are alerting have been closed/locked.

Remember, motion sensors are designed to alert to people breaking in and moving inside when the people who live there aren’t home. That’s when the alarm is set to Armed Away.

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how to not set off your motion detector

What does it mean that there was no activity on the main floor of the Watts home between 01:48 and 04:23? Does it mean no one was on the main floor during that interval, or does it mean it was disarmed while the crime and cover-up was being committed?

If you wanted to commit murder in your home, and it was premeditated, would you do it with the motion sensors enabled or disabled? Would you commit a premeditated murder while your home security system was activated?

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From Vivint blog:

Weekday mornings can be rough sometimes—preparing for the day, getting the kids ready for school, hurrying out the door to beat rush-hour traffic—and it is easy to forget that you armed your system the night before. Before you leave for the day, make sure to check the color of the home button on your panel to see if you need to stop and disarm your system. Here’s what each color on the panel means:

Red light: When your system is armed, the home button on your panel will turn red. There are two different arming types:

  • Away: Every sensor in your home, including motion detectors will be activated. Any movement or opening doors and windows will trigger an alarm.
  • Stay: All sensors are activated except for motion detectors or interior doors. This allows you to move freely around your home but will trigger an alarm if any exterior doors, windows, or glass break sensors are triggered.

Green light: If the home button on your panel is green, your system is disarmed. You are able to leave your home without triggering an alarm, and your system is ready to arm.

More: Getting to know the Watts Home as a Crime Scene: #1 Original Floor Plans #2 Upstairs Landing, #3 The Balcony, #4 Revisiting the Windows