Dozens of search warrants unsealed in Rodney Brown murder investigation

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Dozens of search warrants were recently unsealed in the murder investigation of Franklin County resident Rodney Brown.

The 57 search warrants viewed by WFXRtv.com shed a light on the investigation into Rodney Brown’s homicide and the subsequent manhunt for his accused killer, Michael Brown.

Michael Brown’s attorney Deborah Caldwell-Bono says the number of search warrants may be above average, but what they were looking for isn’t unexpected.

“I’m sure that while they were looking for him, they tried to leave no stone unturned as to any leads or clues that they might get. So I’m sure that’s why they did so many different search warrants, but that is quite a few,” said Caldwell-Bono.

Search warrants were served to various companies with which Michael Brown was known to do business, including Apple, AT&T, Verizon, Straight Talk Wireless, Google, and several banks. Search warrants were also executed on devices found during the murder investigation at Rodney Brown’s home and an RV which Michael Brown is believed to have driven to Roanoke while on the run.

Devices found during the investigation include four phones, a Blackberry tablet, a Garmin Watch, an Acer tablet, an iPad, an Amazon Fire tablet, an external hard drive, 25 SD cards, 9 flash drives, and a computer found in the RV.

A search of that computer found more than two dozen phone numbers allegedly used by Michael Brown, as well as several email addresses and user accounts on social networks including Facebook and Snapchat. Information from Michael Brown’s online activities and phone calls could help authorities trace movements and activities, the warrants said.

Former U.S. Attorney John Fishwick Jr has a lot of experience in this area. He says law enforcement might be looking to build a timeline of where Brown was.

“We all have a digital footprint and you have to go to the individual provider shortly after the incident to make sure you get all of that data. And that’s probably what’s happening here in Michael Brown’s case,” said Fishwick Jr.

In one of the search warrants, it is revealed that Rodney Brown had withdrawn “a significant amount of cash from [SunTrust Bank] on November 8, 2019, and it is more probable than not the victim would have cash on his person or in his home.”

“Your affiant knows from training and experience that money is a known motive to commit murder and believe information obtained from the victims (sic) bank activity is evidentiary and will further the investigation,” the warrant read.

“I can’t speak to any of that. That’s certainly one way to look at it if that’s true. What is significant? I mean don’t really know. Is there any indication who else might have known if that is that case?” said Caldwell-Bono.

Michael Brown was arrested on Nov. 27, 2019, at his mother’s home in Franklin County, where Rodney Brown was murdered on Nov. 9, 2019.

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