Police in Hallandale Beach, Fla., think they may have found a witness to a homicide in Florida: a digital assistant known the world over as Alexa.
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Recordings made on an Amazon Echo or similar device using Alexa may provide insight in the investigation into the death of 32-year-old Silvia Galva Crespo, who was impaled by a spear during a fight with her husband.
Hallandale Beach police, who are leading the investigation, requested access to audio recordings from Amazon Echo Dot devices that were in the Crespos’ condo at the time of the woman's July death, according to a search warrant obtained by local news outlet WFOR-TV.
Adam Crespo told police that he was trying to pull his wife off the bed when she latched onto a spear to keep him from doing so, according to the arrest report obtained by the outlet.
Adam Crespo heard a snap, "turned around and discovered shortly after the blade had penetrated the victim’s chest," officers wrote in the report. He then pulled the blade out, according to the report.
Authorities believe the Amazon devices may offer insight into the chain of events, the outlet reported.
“The evidence of crimes -- audio recordings capturing the attack on victim Silvia Crespo …and any events that preceded or succeeded the attack --may be found on the server(s) maintained by or for Amazon.com," the warrant says.
Officials say Amazon turned over multiple recordings, but neither the company, police nor the State Attorney’s Office will say what was on them.
Adam Crespo was charged with murder and is out on a $65,000 bond. This isn't the first instance in which Amazon Echo devices were used in homicide investigations.
In 2018, a judge ruled that New Hampshire authorities investigating the stabbing deaths of two women were allowed to examine recordings made by an Amazon Echo speaker with the Alexa voice assistant.
However, Amazon's assistance may be hindered by a policy allowing users the ability to request that recordings of their voice commands be deleted automatically.
Amazon says it saves such commands to improve the service. But the practice has raised concerns with privacy experts, who say the recordings could get into the wrong hands, especially as Amazon and other companies use human reviewers rather than just machines.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.