Locked iPhone hampers police search for this woman’s killer

Brittney Mills and her unborn child were shot and killed when she opened her apartment door April 24, 2015.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, investigators believe a man Mills knew knocked on the door and asked to use her car, according to The Times-Picayune. She said no and was shot several times.

Police would like to search Mills’ iPhone to see who the last people she talked, texted or wrote notes about were, however the phone is password protected, and even though the family gave investigators permission to, Apple will not unlock it.

“All of the leads that we’ve had have been exhausted,” East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar C. Moore told The Washington Post. “We’ve been left with the telephone.”

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Mills’ family offered some possible pass codes that did not work. Trying too many wrong times will lock the phone permanently, making it useless.

Because the phone is password protected using Apple’s iOS 8 end-to-end encryption program, the company is not able to extract the information because the program uses a user-generated pass code as part of the encryption key, according to The Washington Post.

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, is fighting a federal order compelling the company to unlock the phone used by one of the shooters involved in the San Bernardino attacks Dec.2. He has said he is prepared to take the case to the Supreme Court.

“We live and die by data nowadays, and we believe that in nearly 100 percent of cases the info leading up to big drug deal, child molestation or murder is on someone’s cellphone,” Moore told The Washington Post. “Without access to the phone, we’re really hamstrung and the bad guys are in control.”

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