Digitally Returning to the Scene of the Crime

One year ago, Dr. David Cornbleet was murdered in his Chicago office. The events following his death have provided insight into the role the Internet can play in solving a crime.

The crime occurred late in the day on Oct. 24, 2006. The building’s security cameras recorded the suspect getting on an elevator, then leaving 45 minutes later covered with blood.

This record of the murderer’s image did little to assist in his capture, in part because of the video’s poor quality. “The most frustrating thing is there is one moment where he turns and faces the camera,” said Dan Drucker, fiancé of Cornbleet’s daughter, Jocelyn. “I zoomed in on our enhanced images, and it’s just too grainy to get a look at his face.”

Jocelyn discovered her father’s body, and Drucker was with her at the time. He subsequently spearheaded online efforts to find the killer.

“Once I heard they thought the suspect was someone between 18 and 25, I told them, ‘We have to get this online,’” Drucker said.

So, the family turned to a platform that many have found is the easiest way to establish a Net presence: MySpace. The profile the family built, “Friends of Dr. David Cornbleet,” is sprawling and elaborate. That the family members were able to build it themselves is a testament to the extent to which online tools and skills are now available to anyone who wants to use them.

“I didn’t have that much of…

Daniel Margolis


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