In the days after a missing Boston woman was found alive, details are emerging about how police were able to track her down.
Surveillance video and cell phone technology offered critical clues on the whereabouts of Olivia Ambrose and kidnapping suspect Victor Pena.
NBC10 Boston sat down with George Price, who has a background in law enforcement, to talk about the case and all that went into solving it. Price is now a partner at Casner and Edwards, but was once a federal agent and a Boston police officer.
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“To find this woman alive was a miracle,” Price said. “The police work was incredible.”
Price, who has worked on missing persons cases himself in the past, said surveillance video is always key. Police relied on it heavily to find the Boston Marathon bombers.
“It’s like following a trail of breadcrumbs,” Price said.
In this case, it helped police establish a timeline, from the moment Ambrose left Hennessy’s bar to when she got on the train with the suspect. The images of Pena from the MBTA’s security cameras were later released to the public who helped police identify him.
“That coupled with the Charlie Card used by the suspect allowed them to narrow it down to the building and eventually the unit to where he was,” Price said.
Also leading police there was Ambrose’s cell phone, which not only came back on the day she was found, it had the Find My iPhone feature enabled. Ambrose’s sister was able to access it on the app and see the phone’s location. It pinged on Walford Way in Charlestown, right to the spot where police say Ambrose was held against her will for nearly three days.
Price said just because she has been found does not mean the police work is over. After obtaining a search warrant, he said investigators will look through the suspect’s apartment, phone and computer. He said they will be looking for everything from what he was reading to what he was watching, while allegedly holding Ambrose captive.
“Those are game changers,” he said. “because it shows intent as far as when the prosecutors go to prove their case.”