More than 5,700 runners were still out on the course when two explosions rocked the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Police officers, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), volunteers, and spectators rushed to help those injured by the explosions. So began an investigation that wouldn’t end until 100 hours later, when the final suspect was pulled from a boat in a backyard in Watertown, Massachusetts.
What happened during those 100 hours between the bombing and the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev illustrates the degree to which digital evidence is now critical to police investigations.
In cases such as this, the wealth of digital information available to investigators can break an investigation wide open; yet, it also poses new challenges for many police departments where gathering, analyzing, and sharing information remains difficult.