California Man Charged With Murder After Fitbit Yields Crucial Evidence

A 90-year-old California man was arrested and charged with killing his stepdaughter after police officers reviewed her Fitbit and found crucial evidence on it.

Tony Aiello was arrested on Wednesday, Sept. 26, on suspicion of murdering Karen Navarra, his 67-year-old stepdaughter, in her San Jose home.

Aiello is married to Navarra’s mother, 92, reported KCRA.

Navarra, who was often alone, according to family members and neighbors, was found dead on Sept. 13 after she failed to show up at work.

“She had to know who it was because she was a very private person,” neighbor Jarod Middleton told NBC.

Police officers said she was sitting in a chair, slumped over and holding a large kitchen knife. She had a large slit to her neck. It appeared to be a possible suicide.

An autopsy performed by the coroner’s office, though, concluded that Navarra suffered multiple skull fractures which were “inconsistent with being self-inflicted or accidental,” according to a report obtained by The Mercury News. The medical examiner said a small hatchet or ax, not a knife, was likely used to kill Navarra and that it was impossible for her to have killed herself.

Video and Fitbit

Aiello was interviewed by detectives, telling them he delivered a pizza to Navarra on Sept. 8 and saw her at his house later that day but hadn’t seen her since.

Video surveillance captured by nearby houses showed a car similar to the one owned by Aiello arriving at the home on Sept. 8 at 3:12 p.m. and stayed until at least 3:33 p.m. By 3:35 p.m., the car was gone. The car did not leave in the direction Aiello said he had driven after dropping off the pizza, according to the arrest report.

Officers then sent Navarra’s Fitbit to the company that makes the devices; the company was able to inform detectives that Navarra’s heartbeat significantly spiked that same day at about 3:20 p.m. The device couldn’t register a heartbeat starting at 3:28 p.m.

“Comparing the statements provided by Anthony ‘Tony’ Aiello, the video footage of the driveway of the victim’s house and the data from the Fitbit, I believe that Anthony Aiello is responsible for the murder,” San Jose Police Detective Brian Meeker wrote in the report.

Officers interviewed Aiello again after discovering the evidence but he stuck to his story, even after they found clothes in his hamper covered in blood splatter.

He was arrested and charged with murder; he’s being held without bail and was scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 4.