A popular iPhone feature was reportedly used to help lead to the rescue of a Boston woman who had been kidnapped.
Olivia Ambrose, 23, was found around 3 p.m. on Tuesday in a Charlestown apartment rented by Victor Pena. Previously, she had last been leaving a bar in the Boston area around 11 p.m. on Saturday. Reportedly, she had been abducted and held against her will for two and a half days, according to the Boston Globe.
But the area that police started searching had been narrowed a couple days earlier when Franny Ambrose, Olivia’s sister, used an iPhone location tracking feature to try and find her. Franny resorted to the iPhone feature after she was unable to get in contact with Olivia on Saturday night.
It isn’t clear whether Franny Ambrose had used Find My iPhone or Find My Friends to locate her sister. The Boston Police Department identified the feature as Find My iPhone and Find My Friends at separate points in its report.
The feature did not reveal where Ambrose was, but it did let her sister know that the last known location of Ambrose’s iPhone was near an intersection in Charlestown.
But the narrowed search area gave local authorities a place to start. Police used other tactics, like law enforcement technology and shoe leather, to actually zero in on Ambrose’s location.
Authorities canvassed the Charlestown neighborhood and were eventually lead to Pena’s apartment, the Boston Globe reported.
Interestingly, Pena’s apartment was in fact at the same intersection where the iPhone app initially located Ambrose.
As the Boston Globe notes, this wasn’t enough to locate Ambrose. That may be due to the fact that her device was seized by her alleged kidnapper, Pena, who kept the phone from relaying its whereabouts.
Ambrose was found standing near Pena in his apartment, where he was arrested by police on the spot. He was arraigned on a kidnapping charge on Wednesday — and authorities say he may face additional charges as the case continues.
While the location-tracking features of modern smartphones often get their fair share of negative press, they were actually originally implemented to allow emergency responders to locate a person quicker.
Despite the privacy implications, Ambrose’s story is just another example of how location tracking can help those in need.