‘It’s vital’: Phone tracking data used to find South Carolina teen in Union County

‘We encourage everyone to do that with family members that they trust.’
“We encourage everyone to do that with family members that they trust.”
Published: Jul. 6, 2023 at 11:20 PM EDT
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MONROE, N.C. (WBTV) - When law enforcement officers are looking for missing or endangered people, every second counts.

That was the case earlier this week when the Union County Sheriff’s Office was searching for a missing 18-year-old from Laurens, S.C. who was believed to be in the Monroe area.

As deputies and detectives searched for Jacob Williamson, Lt. James Maye says one key piece of evidence helped expedite the investigation.

“The phone was a great resource, the location sharing was a great idea,” Maye said. “We encourage everyone to do that with family members that they trust.”

Maye is referring to data from an app called Life360 that was on Williamson’s phone. The app allows friends and families to track a person’s whereabouts based on their phone’s location.

Williamson’s close family friend Promise Edwards says giving law enforcement that data helped take an impossibly large search radius, and make it easier to find a place to start.

“We would have never known where the phone was going,” Edwards said. “Where to even begin to look, it’s such a big area.”

Maye says phone-tracking apps like Life360 are an invaluable tool in missing or endangered persons cases, as they can help officers save precious time.

“If you need law enforcement, if you’re worried about your children, these services help us respond quickly and efficiently to whatever location we’re needed,” Maye said.

Maye encourages all parents to look into apps like Life360 for their children’s phones, as a way to always make sure they’re safe.

“It’s vital. Technology has made very easy, very cheap tools that parents can use to protect their kids,” Maye said. “And this is one of those tools.”

Related: ‘This is not right’: Family friend remembers 18-year-old killed in Union County

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