BARTONVILLE, TX, October 25, 2019— It’s been nearly a year since one of the deadliest and most destructive fires in modern history hit the United States. The California Camp Fire raged on for 17 days and covered almost 240 sq miles, causing people to flee their homes, and over 1,000 people went missing in the first week. Knowing traditional missing persons investigative techniques would take too long, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office partnered with Hawk Analytics to pull cellular tower records from four major companies, resulting in over 1 million records that needed processing. This unconventional method would prove to beneficial in reuniting victims with their families.
CEO & Founder of Hawk Analytics, Mike Melson, was personally connected to the disaster. His parents, who lived in Paradise, CA, the hardest-hit community, called to tell him they got out of the fire’s path and were safe. Shocked about the news of the fire and grateful for this family’s safety, he knew others were not so lucky, so he immediately got involved in helping. Mike said, “Hawk Analytics has always been about ‘doing the right thing,’ and we’re always willing to help and make a difference.”
Investigators from Butte County Sheriff’s Office and Hawk Analytics wasted no time getting started finding missing people. Their goal was to find cellular phone numbers of the missing people, find anyone they had communicated with during the fire, and confirm they had gotten out of the fire area safely. Getting this information was a monumental task in coordination with various cellphone companies, and little by little, the information started to pay off.
Using CellHawk, software designed by Hawk Analytics to interpret cellular records, and utilizing special techniques used by both partners, over 3,000 missing people were located and reunited with their loved ones thanks to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office and a little help from Hawk Analytics.