The family of deceased San Diego County resident Christopher Ryan Smith called in a local San Diego private investigator to solve Smith’s murder after the police failed to do so. Christopher Ryan Smith was part owner of a California based Internet advertising company who was killed in was is believed to be a business deal gone bad.
Laguna Beach Police Department investigated the murder, but the family is claiming that the investigation was handled so poorly that they need $30 million in restitution from the City of Laguna Beach, or rather, that three family members need $10 million each. Edward Younghoon Shin, Smith’s business partner, was arrested for the murder after boarding an airplane that was Canada bound, in an attempt to flee the country. Later, a second business partner was arrested, Kenny Roy Kraft, though it seems unclear whether he was an accomplice or if he simply knew about the murder.
When Smith’s family finally got tired of what they claim was negligent investigative practices and unreasonable emotional distress, they hired a private investigator to assist in the case. The private detective collected enough evidence to point the Laguna Beach police to the 800Xchange Internet business offices (co-owned by Smith, Shin, and Kraft), where blood was found. It seems likely that Shin and/or Kraft murdered Christopher Ryan Smith to avoid paying him $1,000,000 to buy out his portion of the business.
Smith was murdered in June of 2010, but the investigation that took place in early 2011 found that Shin went to great lengths to hide the fact that Smith was even missing. One such drastic measure found by investigators was that Shin had hacked into Smith’s email account and sent mail to family members and friends, explaining that he was on an extended business trip in Africa.
This attempt at subterfuge via electronic hacking is something that private investigators routinely encounter. Many private investigators are trained in computer and cellular forensics, electronic or “eDiscovery,” and data retrieval. Evidence of illegal computer usage can be priceless in the prosecution process, as it certainly will be in the case against Shin. Whether Smith’s family members will be awarded $30 million remains to be seen.
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For more information on this case, visit the Laguna Beach Patch article.