Criminals are always trying to hide their tracks, but it isn’t always easy. A fitness device is being credited with finding the person responsible for a California woman’s murder.
The technology, which was located on the woman’s wrist at the time of her death, provided the necessary evidence for authorities to find the suspect — the woman’s stepfather. The battered body of 67-year-old Karen Navarra was found on September 13 when police conducted a welfare check at her home after she had failed to show up for work.
She was wearing a Fitbit Alta HR on her wrist which, according to a police report, showed her heart rate spike at 3:20 p.m. on September 8 and show no heart rate at 3:28 p.m.
Her 90-year-old stepfather, Anthony Aiello, told police what happened on September 8 — and the details of his story do not match up with the Fitbit data. He has been arrested and charged in connection with the killing of Navarra.
Surveillance video showed Aiello’s car in front of Navarra’s property between 3:12 p.m. and 3:33 p.m. which, based on the FitBit data about her heart rate, puts him at the crime scene when she was killed.
Navarra was found with a deep laceration in her neck and head, and a suicide had apparently been staged, as she held a kitchen knife in her hand, ABC News reports.
After an autopsy was performed, it was revealed that Navarra died from blunt-force trauma, according to San Jose police Officer Gina Tepoorten.
According to Aiello, he said he had dropped off pizza and biscotti that afternoon and Navarra was fine, noting that she gave him two flowers as he left. He also claims that he saw her drive by his home with someone in the passenger seat later that day.
Piecing together the details of the surveillance footage and the Fitbit, it became more clear that his story didn’t check out.
According to a law enforcement document, Brian Meeker, a San Jose police detective “confronted” Aiello about the Fitbit findings during the interview and explained that the corresponding surveillance video indicated that his car was in the driveway at the time of his step-daughter’s death.
Meeker noted in the report: “After explaining the abilities of the Fitbit to record time, physical movement, and heart rate data, he was informed that the victim was deceased prior to his leaving the house.”
Aiello maintained that it couldn’t be true and suggested that perhaps someone else was in the home, according to the report.
Meeker further noted: “I explained that both systems were on internet time, and there was no deviation.”
Additionally, two blood stained shirts were found in Aiello’s garage, and he blamed that on constantly cutting himself. The document, however, describes: “He was told that the deposits of blood were not localized in one area and were more consistent with splatter. Aiello indicated that he might have cut his hand and shaken it while he was wearing those shirts.”
He’s currently being held at Santa Clara County Jail without bail. Officer Tepoorten noted that “the motive and circumstances surrounding the homicide are still under investigation.”