Alexa, has there been a murder?
Police in Hallandale Beach are investigating the possibility that an Amazon smart device may have captured audio of events leading up to the death of 32-year-old Silvia Galva, who died in July during an argument with her boyfriend in the couple’s bedroom, according to The South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Her boyfriend, Adam Crespo, 43, has since been arrested and charged with murder in Galva’s death. He told investigators that he and Galva had gotten into a fight the night she died and he had repeatedly asked Galva to leave his home, The Miami Herald reported in July.
He told police that she refused, so he “grabbed her by the ankles and began to pull her off the bed,” an arrest report obtained by the paper said.
As he was dragging her, he claimed she grabbed a 5-foot long spear with a 12-inch double sided metal blade that was laying on the end of the bed.
“While he was still pulling her from the bed, he heard a snap,” the report said.
He said he turned around and realized the blade had plunged into her chest. He allegedly told investigators he tried to pull the blade out, hoping that the injury “was not too bad” and asked a friend who was at the home to call 911.
Galva died from the injuries.
But now, investigators are seeking to determine whether an Amazon device in the room at the time may have served as a possible witness to the death and have obtained a search warrant for Amazon for anything recorded on two devices in the apartment from July 11 at 12 a.m. to July 12 at 11:50 p.m.
“It is believed that evidence of the crimes, audio recordings capturing the attack on victim Silvia Crespo that occurred in the main bedroom…may be found on the server maintained by or for Amazon,” police wrote in the probable cause statement obtained by The Sentinel.
Hallandale Beach Police Department spokesman Sgt. Pedro Abut confirmed to the paper that investigators had received the audio but have not commented on what, if anything, may have been found.
“We did receive recordings, and we are in the process of analyzing the information that was sent to us,” Abut said.
Amazon smart devices such as the Echo or Alexa typically aren’t activated and recording unless a key word is spoken like “Alexa,” “Computer, or “Echo.”
“No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word,” Amazon spokesman Leigh Nakanishi told the paper.
The device also has a “mute” function that would prohibit it from recording anything if it’s employed.
It isn’t the first time data from the devices has been requested in criminal cases. Last year, a judge ordered Amazon to turn over any recordings from an Echo device after Christine Sullivan was stabbed in her Farmington, New Hampshire home on Jan. 27, 2017, according to The Washington Post.
But Amazon has previously said it won’t release any recordings unless compelled by a legal entity.
“Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served upon us,” a spokesperson told The Post last year. “Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course.”
Crespo is currently out on a $65,000 bond while awaiting trial.
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