Recently NBC 4 Washington reported on a breakthrough made by the Kalamazoo County Michigan Sherriff’s office in the 2017 murder of Ronald French. French had been discovered dead in a cornfield in the county on June 26, 2017. His fatal wounds were consistent with having been strangled with a cord and dragged behind a car or truck.
Despite the Sheriff’s office best efforts, the case yielded no answers or arrests for French’s grieving family. However, their luck changed when recently one of the investigators learned of the potential gold mine of information that can often be extracted from the onboard computers of newer vehicles. French’s 2016 Chevy Silverado pickup had been stolen around the same time of the murder and later recovered. Focus shifted to what data it might still contain.
As luck would have it, a forensic examination of the truck yielded an audio recording of a man other than French using the hands free stereo system to play music which was time stamped at approximately the same time the murder had taken place. Police played the recording for a number of people close to French and they identified the voice of Joshua Wessel. Wessel’s voice was even identified by his wife according to police reports. Using this evidence, the police were able to put some of the other pieces of the investigation together and they have arrested and charged Wessel with the murder. He has pled not guilty and is awaiting trial.
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Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology