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Why no arrest in Plainfield threats?

Posted at 10:41 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 23:57:38-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Lots of people are asking why hasn't there been an arrest in the Plainfield threats case.

Call 6 Investigates found out that it isn't as easy as it looks on TV.

"These aren't things that can be solved in 50 minutes. These are often very painstaking investigations," said Captain Charles Cohen, commander of the Indiana State Police Office of Intelligence and Investigative Technologies.

Captain Cohen says tracking someone on the internet is sometimes the hardest part of a computer crimes investigation and as technology develops, it's getting harder each day.

"When you are trying to track somebody using when they are using the internet, it is basically following a set of bread crumbs," said Cohen.

To start tracking those breadcrumbs, police have to get a court order and then forward that order to an internet service provider, a social media company or an email provider to even begin looking at records.

"Often times we have to wait days or weeks to get those records back. Once we get those records back, it often requires a second set, or a third set, of legal processes," said Cohen.

Although Plainfield Police and the FBI have been working tirelessly to try and track down the person responsible for making the threats, state police told Call 6 Investigator, Paris Lewbel, that the time involved is par for the course.

"Here in the United States there is always a balance between civil liberties and the ability of the government to protect citizens as a whole. In that balance, one of the checks and balances we have is the interaction between private companies and public sector law enforcement," said Cohen.

Beyond the time for the legal process, computer forensics expert Dr. Marcus Rogers, a professor and department head at Purdue University, says a social media company like Facebook is getting hundreds, if not thousands of requests per day from law enforcement agencies across the world. 

Rogers says that he believes the suspect will be eventually caught, but it will take continued patience from the community.

As the suspect continues to post and make threats to Plainfield High School, Rogers says that could be a good thing.

"The more times that this individual is doing this and posting things and communicating, what they're doing is actually increasing the chances that they are getting caught,” said Rogers. “There's more breadcrumbs and eventually you cross correlate the breadcrumbs and you go back to exactly where this person is."

None of the experts that Call 6 Investigators spoke to on Monday could predict an amount of time before law enforcement could be close to a possible suspect.

They say each case is different and they weren’t briefed on the specifics of the Plainfield investigation, but they say they are confident that Plainfield Police and the FBI should eventually find the person responsible.

Call 6 reached out the FBI field office in Indianapolis and Plainfield Police to get an update on the investigation. Both agencies said they wouldn’t comment on any specifics because it is an ongoing investigation.

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