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GUEST POST: The most overlooked and crucial pieces of evidence related to establishing a timeline of events that night by Ralph Cifaretto

Below is some excellent analysis and commentary in response to the 28th Tranche [NCRFL Digital Evidence Analysis]:

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In my opinion this is one of the most overlooked and crucial pieces of evidence related to establishing a timeline of events that night. I’m surprised you posted this without comment Nick and have not delved into the subject more.

As a preface to the rest of my post: If you’re unsure what these graphs are you are looking at, they are “step counts” recorded by iPhones of both Chris and Shan’ann. An iPhone has a “health app” that passively records your movement based on a variety of factors using gyroscopes, accelerometers and other various good stuff. It does this as “step counts” and represents them in a graph. The [quality of the] photos here are shocking but I can tell you that the Y axis goes up in increments of 200 steps, and the x axis is a is a 24 hour time period in one hour increments, starting at 12am on the selected day. I personally use this app frequently and am quite familiar with it.

How accurate are iPhones in recording steps? Pretty accurate. Refer to this video to get an idea:

Its important to note: The iPhone can ONLY record your steps if it is directly on your person and in motion. It can still be on but not record steps you do not have it. Is it also not fooled by car/air travel movement. Given that both Chris and Shan’ann were almost constantly glued to their phones, I feel this would be a quite accurate way to track their movement.

Now on to what the iPhones show:

Chris’ work iPhone:
– Barely any activity on the Sunday, some very minor stuff late Sunday afternoon on the 12th. (possibly when he picked up the phone to text Kodi Roberts he will be at Cervi tomorrow morning).
– 0000-0400 on the 13th. NO recorded activity.
– 0400-0500 on the 13th. Some very minor movement in this hour. Establishes Chris as awake
-0500-0600 on the 13th – Lots of movement and activity, Chris takes over 400 steps with the phone in his possession
-0600-0700 on the 13th – Minor activity, this is when he had loaded the bodies and was driving the truck out to Cervi and dumping the bodies
-0700 – 1000 another flurry of activity, Chris takes a combined total of around 1400 steps during these hours with the phone in his possession

Chris’ personal iPhone:
– 2300-0000 on the 12th. Chris takes over 200 steps with his personal iPhone in his possession. We know he is awake at this time and the last time he texted Shan’ann was at 23:21.
– 0000-0400 on the 13th. NO recorded movement from Chris’ iPhone during this period. He receives an alert from his Vivint security system at 0148 telling him the front door has been opened.
– 0400-0500 on the 13th. Minor activity on the phone. Around 20-30 steps are recorded during this period. Establishes Chris as awake at this time.
-0500-0600 on the 13th. A similar story to the work phone, increased activity with around 200 steps with the iPhone in his possession during the hour.
-0600-0700 on the 13th. Another lull in activity with 20 or so steps record. Once again he is driving to Cervi and dumping the bodies.

Shan’ann’s iPhone:
0000 – 0100 on the 13th. Around 100 steps recorded
0100 – 0200 on the 13th. Around 800 steps recorded. She arrives home during this hour at 0148
0200 – 1500 on the 13th. NO recorded activity.
1500 – 1600 on the 13th. Just over 400 steps recorded. This is likely just after Chris ”found” the phone and switched it on again.

-Both of Chris’ iPhones (work and personal) show absolutely no movement with the phone in his possession after 12am and before 4am on the day of the murder. There is slight activity during the 4am to 5am period on both phones, with increased movement between 5am-6am before another lull. They are both very consistent with each other.
– Shan’ann’s phone shows no movement after 2am Monday and before 3pm Monday. This means its likely that Chris turned her phone off completely after the murder and did not switch it back on until it was found by Nickole’s son.
– The Vivint motion sensors on the ground floor alerted to Shan’ann opening the front door at 1:48am and did not detect any other motion on that floor until 4:23am. This matches almost perfectly with the recorded movement from all 3 iPhones and I believe has huge implications for when the murders took place.

Side note: More shoddy police work done in this case. If detective Baumhover had tried a little bit harder at his job, he would have noticed that underneath these graphs on the iPhone is a menu that contains an option named “Show All Data”. Clicking this option will allow you to see the EXACT times that the iPhone was picked up and moved during a given day, and the time that it stopped moving, and an approximate distance traveled/step count for each time.

Unfortunate that this wasn’t done as it would have helped nail down both parties movements much more accurately in the given time periods. Unfortunately these graphs broken into hour increments is all we have to work with.27356392_10156298753408825_7054522965536622121_o

Postscript – The iPhone Data shouldn’t be confused with the iWatch Data

The data reference above is entirely drawn from the 3 iPhones described in the document (Items 40, 41 and 42).It is possible to synchronize your iWatch to the iPhone so the data appears the same on both, but in this case I believe if the data had been synced the step counts and activity levels throughout the day would be much higher. (Based on personal experience and the fact that the watch is literally strapped to your body the entire day.)

In the discovery I cannot find any information about the iWatches themselves being forensically examined. I believe this is another huge and glaring omission by the police again. Why? Because the iWatch itself has an even more advanced suite of biometric data it gathers from the person its attached to, the main one of interest being their heart rate. If Chris and Shan’ann were wearing their watches at the time of the murder, the iWatch would have most definitely detected the massive heart rate spike resulting from that (along with the fact that Shan’annss watch would stop giving a heart reading entirely), and could have possibly even given us an exact time of murder.

Incredibly, frustratingly, it wasn’t done. Why?



  1. Sylvester

    This is incredible information! You would think with FBI and CBI on this case iwatch data would have been collected and analyzed. Since I’m technologically challenged, let’s see if i can frame this question correctly: there are no steps from her phone after 2 a.m. 8/13. Assuming he attacked her soon after she entered the house -A. if it was he who attempted the hair product purchase at 2:30 a.m., with her phone, wouldn’t there be steps recorded around that time? And B. When did he switch off her phone? Wouldn’t there be a record on her phone when he switched it off -if there’s a record when it was switched back on.

  2. Shannon

    That was very interesting and excellent work.

  3. Kim

    Excellent work. She either turned her phone off at 2 am or he killed her as soon as she got home.

    • nickvdl

      Or both [he could have turned her phone off].

      • Kim

        Or she turned her phone off at 2 and went to bed and he killed her later. Do we know the activity on the lady Jane girlfirnd’s phone? North Korea?

        • nickvdl

          If she went to bed, wouldn’t she have left the phone beside her bed?

  4. Kim

    Hair products at 2:30? Just think how much people can help the police by releasing this discovery.

    • Carolyn

      the hair products was just an email notification of declined transaction not the actual time of transaction

      • Sylvester

        Thanks Carolyn.

  5. Lester

    Wow! Very good catch! Sadly they missed that crucial piece of information.

  6. JLS

    The Apple Watch data could be in the redacted portion of discovery?

  7. Charles. Edison

    Also this is terrifying bc it could imply he may have actually killed her as soo. As she cane to bed and lay in wait for the alarm downstairs to be timed in sync to his work alibi.

    • Charles Edison

      +spelling error soon not soo

  8. Cheryl

    Excellent investigative work here. Thank you. Between Shan’ann’s social media presence and the electronic devices that captured activity/movements on the day of the murders, I believe this case might be unprecedented. Despite what technology can reveal about the mechanics of murder, I believe one of the most elusive aspects of crime is motive, which the latest Two Face book illuminates in a very deliberate and incisive way.

  9. Sherri

    I am quite fascinated by this case because these people are around my age and I have young kids as well. I’ve been reading almost all of your articles about Chris Watts. Anyways, pertaining to this matter, I have wondered why they have not utilized their personal smart watch devices to track movements and activities as well. I wear my Fitbit device at night to monitor my heart rate and sleep stages. I chose the Fitbit because of its long battery life, so I only have to charge it every couple of days. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve heard the iWatch battery requires charging every night. Was Shann’ann even wearing her iWatch to sleep? Was Chris wearing his to sleep that night or at work that day?

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