A cellphone referring to Devin Kelley involved of killing 26 people on Sunday before his suicide this issue was sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Quantico, Virginia, crime lab because officials could not unlock it, Christopher Combs, head of the FBI’s San Antonio field office, said on Tuesday.
Combs did not define what kind of phone Kelley had throughout the attack in Sutherland Springs, Texas, but another person familiar with the location confirmed to News that it was an iPhone.
The first expert said that in the 48 hours within the shooting and Combs’ news discussion, Apple had received no requests from federal, state or local law enforcing authorities for technical assistance with Kelley’s phone or his associated online accounts at Apple.
The delay may prove significant. If Kelley had used a fingerprint to lock his iPhone, Apple could have told directors they could use the dead man’s finger to unlock his device, so long as the phone had not been powered off and restarted.
But iPhones secured with a fingerprint ask for the user’s passcode after 48 hours if they have not been opened by then.
Officials also could have requested for data from Kelley’s iCloud online storage account if he had one. If Apple gets a warrant or court order, it will give law enforcement authorities iCloud data, as well as the keys needed to decrypt it.
If an iPhone user lines up an iPhone using iCloud, the online data can include texts, photographs and other information from the phone.
The first News source said the FBI had yet to ask as of Wednesday for support unlocking the device. It could not be learned whether Apple had received a court system to turn over iCloud account data. It also could not be learned whether the FBI had tried to use Kelley’s fingerprint and failed to unlock his iPhone despite not contacting Apple.
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