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Authorities in Australia used Apple Watch heart rate data to identify a murder suspect

Apple Watch

In a sensational story out of Australia, the heart rate sensor on the Apple Watch was used by authorities to help them identify and arrest a suspect in a gruesome murder case. As originally detailed by the Daily Mail (via VentureBeat), the story centers on a 57-year old woman named Myrna Nilsson was bludgeoned to death at her home in September of 2016.

In the subsequent investigation, Nilsson’s daughter-in-law claimed that a group of men had forced their way into Myrna’s apartment following an altercation on the road. The daughter-in-law’s story and timeline, however, did not align with data that investigators ultimately gleaned from the victim’s Apple Watch. By looking at heart rate data recorded by the Apple Watch, investigators were able to determine when the attack occurred and a general time frame as to when the victim passed away.

Specifically, authorities managed to narrow “the time from when she was attacked to when she died to a seven-minute window.”

… data showed a burst of heavy activity, consistent with the woman being the victim of an ‘ambush-type’ attack followed by a period of less activity when she possibly lost consciousness.

[Prosecutors] said the watch stopped recording the woman’s heart rate soon after.

With authorities now in possession of an accurate timeline of the attack and subsequent murder, the daughter-in-law’s own story was called into question. What’s more, it was soon revealed that the crime scene itself was staged to align with the concocted story of a home invasion. Ultimately, the daughter in law became a suspect and is now being charged with carrying out the murder.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first instance we’ve seen of an Apple Watch being used in a murder investigation. Just a few months back, German authorities used Apple Watch data to determine when a murder suspect likely killed his victim.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.