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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