Law enforcement ‘pings’ cellphone in search for Clark County fugitive

Published: Thursday, September 20, 2018 @ 8:20 PM

Getty Images/Getty Images
(Getty Images/Getty Images)

Law enforcement looking for an accident victim off the road can ‘ping’ cell towers to help find that person more quickly to render aid.

Cellphones, when they are on, emit signals, called pings, to cell towers.

Police also can use that technology to search for fugitives, as in the case of Raymond Roberts. He is considered armed and dangerous after he reportedly stabbed his estranged wife this morning in Springfield Twp. in Clark County.

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Throughout the day, deputies have tried a variety of tactics in hopes of finding Roberts. But so far, he hasn’t been caught.


Gayle Jenkins, who owns DNA Computers in Kettering, explains how pinging works.

“They basically take the three nearest towers to the cellphone’s location and they try to measure how far that (cellphone) may be from each of those three towers,” she said.

However, it’s no exact science. The area pinpointed can still encompass several square miles.

Some of the places court records show Roberts’ cellphone was picked up include: Springfield Regional Medical Center; in the Troy area; and, later in Quincy east of Sidney. Since then, though, there’s been no sign of him.

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“It tells me he’s in a rural area and those towers are just not that close together,” said Jenkins, who also offered a couple other possible reasons. “He could have turned his phone off, the battery could have died.”

Deputies also have this to consider, according to court documents. Roberts told his brother just days ago “he was buying a one-way ticket to Florida.”

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And today, he told his parents “he was in trouble and had to leave.”

As for Roberts’ estranged wife, she suffered serious injuries and is receiving care at Miami Valley Hospital, where deputies say she could remain for weeks.

Anyone with information on Roberts’ whereabouts is urged to call 911.

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