WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A Purdue professor and law enforcement investigator (who is also among the nation's top cyberforensics researchers) says the Sandy Hook gunman's smashed hard drive is not a dead end – and that the Newtown, Conn., killer's communication is doubtlessly online.
The University's Marcus Rogers is head of Purdue Cyber Forensics Center and trains police investigators around the world.
He says obsessed gamers like the shooter, 20-year-old Adam Lanza of Newtown, live their imaginary and real lives in virtual spaces much like the rest of us use Facebook and Twitter.
"A record of what he has been playing, saying and reading is out there," Rogers says. "You just need to know where and how to look, be willing to turn over lots of stones, and have a little luck."
Rogers is also an expert in criminal pathology. He says Lanza wanted the world to finally know who he was and got the world's attention with an unimaginably heinous act. Rogers says by slowing the search into his motives, the shooter kept the spotlight on himself.
"If (he) really wanted to hide his tracks, he wouldn't have used a hammer to attempt to destroy his computer," Rogers says. "That entire hard drive would be sleeping with the fish."
According to Rogers, United Kingdom researchers are getting data from the most distressed hard drives using sophisticated technology developed by the KGB (Russian Committee for State Security).
But, Rogers said, even if the shooter shredded his hard drive into confetti, his digital footprints are in the third-party servers that record all of our online discourse, including email.
Rogers is a fellow at the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security doing research focused on psychological profiling, applied cyberforensics and cyberterrorism. He has been featured in an array of national publications on these topics.
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