Investigation hits the wall as Las Vegas shooter’s laptop is missing its hard drive

A laptop computer recovered from the Mandalay Bay Hotel room in Las Vegas where Stephen Paddock launched the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history was missing its hard drive, thereby depriving investigators of a potential key source of information on why he killed and maimed so many people, ABC News report.

According to sources, 64-year-old Paddock is believed to have removed the hard drive before fatally shooting himself, and the missing device has not yet been recovered.

Officials investigating the shooter’s background also learned he purchased software designed to erase files from a hard drive, but without the hard drive to examine it is impossible to know if he ever used the software.

Authorities are examining every aspect of Paddock’s life — from his family, friends and associates to his travel patterns, health and finances. So far, a motive has yet to be ascertained.

Paddock who is a frequent gambler and described as a loner, spent months amassing his arsenal, staying under the radar with no one suspecting he would turn to extreme violence.

The absence of substantial digital clues has left investigators struggling to connect the dots on what influenced Paddock to kill 58 innocent concertgoers and injure more than 500 others at the Route 91 County music festival on Oct. 1.

Other mass shooters in the United States have left behind writings or manifestos explaining their actions — however deranged those explanations may have been, but Paddock left behind no such writings or evidence.

He is not the first mass shooter to destroy or hide digital clues. In 2007, Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung Hui removed the hard drive of his computer and disposed of his cell phone shortly before the massacre, while the 2008 Northern Illinois shooter, Steven Kazmierczak, removed the SIM card from his phone and the hard drive from his laptop, and neither was recovered.

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