Kid uses Nintendo Switch to track and rescue kidnapped friend 2,000 miles away
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Featured Image Credit: Michael Fortsch via Unsplash, Nintendo
The following report contains some details that readers may find distressing.
A kidnapped child who had been transported over 2,000 miles away from her home was tracked down and rescued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after using her Nintendo Switch to connect to Wi-Fi, hoping to alert others to her location.
As reported by ABC15 Arizona (via Dexerto), the unnamed 15-year-old girl was kidnapped by the 28-year-old Ethan Roberts on 3 August 2022 from her Virginia home. The girl was eventually located over 2,000 miles away from her home in the state of Arizona. It’s reported that the girl met Roberts on the internet. He supposedly journeyed to Virginia to meet her with the intention of forcing her into child pornography. Roberts travelled back to Tolleson, Arizona, on a bus with the unnamed minor.
Federal court records show that Roberts allowed the girl to bring her Nintendo Switch. When the victim connected her Switch to the internet, one friend back home noticed her online activity. Arizona Department of Public Safety director Frank Milstead said, “It’s probably nothing that anybody even had thought of at this point. The fact that somebody else down the road — another child — was bright enough to go, ‘Hey, look, my friend is online, and she’s been missing, and I need to tell somebody.’”
After the friend alerted the authorities, the FBI were able to acquire the device’s IP address. This led them to Roberts’ apartment complex. He was arrested 11 days after the victim’s disappearance. The federal court indicted Robert on charges of child pornography and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
In April 2023, Roberts made a plea deal and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.