FBI used Nintendo Switch to find missing child 2,000 miles away

Cassidy Stephenson
New Switch

The FBI was able to locate a missing child after she connected her Nintendo Switch to WiFi.

On August 3, 2022, 28-year-old Ethan Roberts allegedly took a 15-year-old girl – who remains anonymous – from her Virginia home. Now, she has been, thankfully, found 2,000 miles away in Arizona.

According to reports, the child met Roberts on the Internet, and he traveled to Virginia to visit. However, he allegedly forced her into child pornography after putting her on a bus to Tolleson, Arizona.

Luckily, the FBI was able to locate the abducted child based on her Nintendo Switch activity.

FBI locates missing child after Switch connected to WiFi

nintendo switch oled model being placed in dock with joycon controller in front.

As first reported by ABC15 Arizona, federal court records show Roberts allowed the girl to bring her Nintendo Switch. After she connected to the Internet to watch YouTube or download a game, her friend quickly noticed the activity.

“It’s probably nothing that anybody even had thought of at this point,” said retired Arizona DPS Director Frank Milstead. “The fact that somebody else down the road — another child — was bright enough to go, ‘Hey, look, my friend is online, and she’s been missing, and I need to tell somebody.,”

The FBI worked together with Nintendo to acquire the device’s IP address – which was located at Roberts’ apartment complex. Eleven days after her initial disappearance, police arrested Roberts at his residence.

Later, the federal court indicted Roberts for the charges of child pornography and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. In April 2023, he made a plea deal and was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.