Police find entire family of four dead in Mexican holiday apartment

A family of four was found dead in their holiday apartment while on holiday in Tulum, Mexico, police confirmed.

Kevin Wayne Sharp, 41, his wife Amy Marie Sharp, 38, and their children Sterling Wayne, 12, and Adrianna Marie, 7, were reported missing by their immediate family members early on Friday morning to police in Creston, Iowa.

The Sharps had planned to return to the US on Wednesday, family members said.

Police quickly made contact with the US state department, Creston police said in a statement. A welfare check at the property where the family was believed to be staying led to the discovery of the four bodies.

Autopsies are being performed in Mexico. It is not immediately clear what led to the Sharp family’s deaths, but Creston police chief Paul Ver Meer told KCCI that there were no signs of traumatic injury.

Local Mexican authorities have taken over the investigation, according to the state department. The Mexican Tourism Board said in a statement obtained by CBS that “preliminary reports from local officials conclude that there were no signs of violence or struggle”.

Ashli Peterson, a relative of the Sharps, posted about the family’s disappearance on Facebook on Thursday night, around the time that the family contacted police. The post was shared hundreds of thousands of times. On Friday afternoon, Ms Peterson posted an update.

“Please respect the family at this time as they go through the grieving process,” she wrote. “Thank you for all the posts, shares and kind words.”

sharp-family.jpg

The family were due to return to the US last week (Facebook)

Kevin Sharp was an avid stock car racer known as “The Sharpshooter” in the local racing scene and he often competed in events in his neighbouring county, Cliff Baldwin, his friend and fellow racer, told the Des Moines Register. He said he knew Mr Sharp and his family his entire life, and that he and Mr Sharp shared a love for the University of Iowa and the Kansas City Chiefs.

“He was a great personal friend,” Mr Baldwin said. “It’s hard to talk about. The more I think about him and the family, the harder it is.

“Creston is close-knit like all small towns in Iowa,” he added. “He’s a big part of that community there.”

Sharp and his family left the United States for Cancun, Mexico, on 15 March, according to Ms Peterson’s post. The family then rented a car and drove to Tulum, where they were renting an apartment, according to Amy Sharp’s sister, Renee Hoyt, who spoke with the Creston News Advertiser.

It was the family’s second time in Mexico, according to Amy Sharp’s cousin, Jana Weland, who told ABC News that the family had planned to meet up with some friends at a water park.

But “they never showed up at that water park to meet them”, Ms Weland said.

The Sharps had informed their family members on 15 March that they had arrived safely in Tulum. So when family members didn’t hear from them on Thursday – after they were supposed to have arrived back home – they became worried.

Ms Hoyt, Amy Sharp’s sister, told the Creston News Advertiserthat Mr Sharp’s phone was tracked using Apple’s Find my iPhone app, which it pinged in Mexico. The phone had not moved from its location since Thursday morning.

Relatives of the Sharp family could not be immediately reached for comment.

The family’s mysterious deaths come amid increased travel warnings to Quintana Roo state, which is home to Tulum – a popular destination for those looking to explore Mayan ruins or snorkel in limestone sinkholes. The state department issued a level two advisory to those travelling to Quintana Roo on 16 March, meaning visitors should be cautious because of increased crime there. Department officials cited a spike in Quintana Roo’s homicide rate since 2016.

Last month, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an investigation that identified more than 150 reports from travellers who said they blacked out or became violently ill after having just one or two drinks at dozens of Mexican resorts in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerta Vallarta and Los Cabos. It is unclear whether those tourists were deliberately drugged or became random victims of tainted alcohol, according to the investigation.

Another Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation from November looked at repeated instances where the travel and restaurant review website TripAdvisor removed posts warning of alleged rape, assault or other injuries at some Mexican resorts. And a July investigation into the death of a Wisconsin college student in Mexico uncovered widespread safety issues, including those tied to tainted alcohol at Mexican resorts.

The Washington Post

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Police cloned a Michigan murder victim’s fingerprint that unlocked his phone — Quartz

Cracking crime just got a lot more innovative.

Police and biometrics researchers at Michigan State University have successfully unlocked the smartphone of a murder victim by using a digitally enhanced print-out of his fingerprint.

Officers from the digital forensics and cyber-crime unit at MSU’s police department approached the college’s biometrics research lab last month, having become aware of the team’s research (pdf) on how printed fingerprints can spoof mobile-phone sensors.

Police had the fingerprints of the murder victim from a previous arrest, which they gave to the lab to 3D print in a bid to unlock the device—a Samsung Galaxy S6.

Unsure which finger was paired to the phone, the lab printed 2D and 3D replicas of all 10 of the slain man’s fingerprints. None of them unlocked the device, so the team then digitally enhanced the quality of prints by filling in the broken ridges and valleys. Rather than opting for a more expensive 3D model, they printed new 2D versions using a special conductive ink that would create an electrical circuit needed to spoof the phone sensor.

After multiple attempts—thanks to the device not requiring a passcode after a certain number of efforts—the team successfully unlocked the phone with one of the digitally enhanced 2D prints.

An MSU spokesperson told Quartz there were plans to print 3D models to test on other devices—there was no need to do so for the victim’s phone, as the 2D print was successful.

Professor Anil Jain, who led the research team at MSU, says the unlocking demonstrates “a weakness” in smartphones’ fingerprint authentication systems, and that he hoped it would “motivate phone developers to create advanced security measures for fingerprint liveness detection.” He added:

This shows that we need to understand what types of attacks are possible on fingerprint sensors, and biometrics in general, and how to fix them. If we don’t, the public will have less confidence in using biometrics. After all, biometric authentication was introduced in consumer devices to improve security.

According to MSU, this is the first time law enforcement has used such technology as part of an ongoing investigation. A spokesperson said the lead detective “even contacted the company that was asked to help with [unlocking] the San Bernardino shooter’s phone and he kept getting the same answer: can’t do it, the tech doesn’t exist. Well, the tech exists now!”

In a statement, Samsung said:

We are aware of the research from Michigan State University, but would like to remind users that it takes special equipment, supplies and conditions to simulate a person’s fingerprint, including actual possession of the fingerprint owner’s phone, to unlock the device. If there is a potential vulnerability or a new method that challenges our efforts to ensure security at any time, we will respond to issues as quickly as possible to investigate and resolve the issue

Cracking crime just got a lot more innovative. Police and biometrics researchers at Michigan State University have successfully unlocked the smartphone of a murder victim by using a digitally enhanced print-out of his fingerprint. Officers from the digital forensics and cyber-crime unit at MSU’s police department approached the college’s biometrics research lab last month, having become […]

via Police cloned a Michigan murder victim’s fingerprint that unlocked his phone — Quartz

Stolen SUV Set on Fire

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – An SUV was stolen from a Manchester Township convenience store then set on fire after the driver left it running and unattended, police said. Northern York County Regional police said the 2003 Kia Sorento was stolen Monday morning from the Sheetz at 215 Arsenal Road. The owner told officers he left…

via SUV left running at store stolen, set on fire — ABC27

How to Block the Ultrasonic Signals You Didn’t Know Were Tracking You — Prasad’s Rambles

An emerging tracking technique uses inaudible sounds to communicate with apps on your phone and track you. Here’s how to stop it. The post How to Block the Ultrasonic Signals You Didn’t Know Were Tracking You appeared first on WIRED. from WIRED http://ift.tt/2fgrRZT via techgadgettalk.com

via How to Block the Ultrasonic Signals You Didn’t Know Were Tracking You — Prasad’s Rambles

Could The ccTrain Crash Have Been Prevented By PTC? — CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the investigation into Thursday’s train crash continues, many are wondering if the catastrophe in Hoboken could have been prevented through Positive Train Control. The technology was not installed on New Jersey Transit Rail, the line where the crash occurred. “We’ve made the progress, but there’s not the sense of urgency that…

via Could The Hoboken Train Crash Have Been Prevented By PTC? — CBS Philly