Telecommunication experts from Britain have been attempting to trace the cell phone pings of resort guests the night Madeleine McCann disappeared. A cell phone ping in simplistic terms is a signal sent by the phone in an attempt to connect to the carrier’s network via the nearest cell tower. Normally you may hear of a specific person’s phone being tracked to determine their movement but it is unusual when you hear about attempts to narrow a group of pings to a specific individual.
When Trenton Duckett disappeared last August, authorities attempted to establish a timeline using the pings from his mothers phone. It was hoped it would determine where she may have traveled the weekend he went missing. Unfortunately, authorities were unable to account for all of her time.
When CNET Reviews editor James Kim and his family disappeared in Oregon during a Thanksgiving road trip last November his cell phone pings were helpful in pinpointing his families approximate location. This ZDNet article, “Turning cell phones into lifelines” discusses the technology as well as some of the pros and cons of GPS systems.
It isn’t the first time British Authorities have used cell phone pings in the search for missing children according to this Fox News report.
The mobile telephone tracing technique was used to collect evidence that helped to convict Ian Huntley for the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2002.
Note: Cell phone pings have played a role in finding the body of a missing Missouri girl.
Less than a week after she was abducted from a Target parking lot in Overland Park, KS, it appears that Kelsey Ann Smith, age 18, has been found deceased in Missouri.