Police in Connecticut say they have solved the 2015 killing of a mother of two - and charged her husband - thanks to evidence collected from her Fitbit.
Richard Dabate, 40, was arrested earlier this month for the alleged murder of 39-year-old Connie Dabate at their home in Ellington, Connecticut, according to a police report obtained by PEOPLE. Police have charged him with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, providing a false statement and murder.
A call to Dabate’s attorney was not immediately returned.
His bond has been set at $1 million.
Dabate claimed a masked intruder broke into their home on Dec. 23, 2015, tied him up and tortured him - then shot and killed his wife when she arrived, according to an arrest warrant.
Dabate had only “minor injuries” when police arrived at the scene. Connie was found dead in their basement, the warrant said.
More than a year after Connie’s death, police were able to track down a key piece of evidence: her Fitbit. According to data gathered from the device, Connie was moving around for nearly an hour after her husband said she was killed, according to court documents.
Dabate claimed that on the morning Connie was killed, he took his two sons to the bus stop, returned home for a “work shirt” and left for work at about 8:30 a.m. He told police his wife was still home getting ready for a fitness class at the YMCA. Data on her Fitbit indicated she left for her class at about 8:46 a.m., records show.
The arrest warrant states that Dabate claimed he returned home around 9 a.m. because he forgot his laptop. At the same time, he received a text message alert that their house alarm had been activated.
Dabate claimed he saw a masked man, about 6-foot-2, wearing all camouflage including a mask and gloves. He told police the intruder “manhandled” him and began torturing him with a blowtorch while he was strapped to a chair. Dabate also claimed the intruder stabbed him with a boxcutter.
He told police they started to fight when he heard his wife return home and yelled for her to run. The intruder, he said, walked downstairs and followed Connie to the basement. Dabate said he tripped down the stairs attempting to go after them. He claimed he heard a gunshot and couldn’t hear Connie for about five minutes.
When the intruder pointed the gun at him, Dabate said he “wrestled” with the suspect before burning his face with a torch, after which the intruder ran out. Dabate claimed he crawled back up the stairs, pressed a panic button on his alarm and called 911 at about 10:11 a.m.
Evidence gathered by police from Connie’s Fitbit, both of their cellphones, computers and house alarm logs show that Dabate logged into a computer at the house at about 9:01 a.m. At 9:04 a.m. Dabate sent his supervisor at work an email saying an alarm at the house had gone off and that he’d have to return to check on it, warrant said.
Connie’s Fitbit registered movement inside the house at 9:23 a.m. She was active on Facebook between 9:40 a.m. and 9:46 a.m., posting videos to her page on her iPhone from home, according to the warrant.
The last recorded distance her Fitbit tracked was 1,217 feet between 9:18 a.m. and 10:05 a.m. Detectives concluded that the total distance it would take Connie to walk from the car to the basement (where her body was found) was no more than 125 feet, according to the warrant.
During his interview with detectives, Dabate admitted to having an extramarital affair that ended in a pregnancy, although he was vague with police as to whether his wife knew about the affair or unplanned pregnancy outside of their marriage, the warrant said.
He is expected to enter a plea during his next court date on April 27.