Engistudio

Murder of Missing Mother

The Case

Guerrina Piscaglia, 50, went missing on May 1, 2014, International Labor Day. A Tuscan housewife and mother of one, she left her house for a walk and never returned. Initially, investigators thought it was a voluntary disappearance, but the following investigation revealed lies and misleading testimonies from persons of interest.

The Challenge

Since the investigative team was misled on the situation, precious time was already wasted and missed opportunities to collect information immediately after the disappearance. Luckily, the victim’s phone had been used a few times after her disappearance, which was captured during the analysis of call detail records. The possible locations of the phone provided important evidence suggesting the involvement of the accused priest, Father Gratien Alabi.

How GeoTime Helped

GeoTime visually showed several points of interest from the call records data. Graphically, it was evident that both Piscaglia and Father Gratien Alabi had spikes in mobile usage beginning March 2014, exchanging over 4,000 text messages and hundreds of calls.

After her disappearance, the victim’s phone showed suspicious call activities: SMS sent to new contacts and connections to cell towers in new locations. Layering on the accused priest’s call data shows that both victim and suspect’s phones had connected to the same cell tower at the same time.

GeoTime Features Used

  • Call Records Tool
  • Callouts
  • Playback of timeline of events
  • Overlaying cell coverage maps with ArcGIS

The Result

The location information emerging from CDRs and cell towers was a strong piece of evidence that uncovered the lies and contradictions in the suspect’s testimony. On October 25, 2016, Father Gratien Alabi was sentenced to 27 years for the murder of Piscaglia. Her body was never found.

“Call detail records include a lot of information about calls, cell towers, locations, and content, so explaining to the Court is difficult and often even boring. With GeoTime, visualizing every data point has made it easy to get the attention of the Court, greatly improving the comprehension and the value of technical facts.”

-Paolo Reale, Digital Forensic Consultant, Engistudio