MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Twin Cities father charged with murdering his son is back behind bars after a short stop in court Wednesday afternoon.

Police say Pierre Collins dumped his 10-year-old son, Barway, into a stormwater tank on the Mississippi River last month.

Inside the courthouse, a judge set Collins’ next court date and kept his bail at $2 million.

Police say cell phone evidence links him to the same spot along the river where Barway’s body was found.

While Barway was missing, week after week, officers did their work, Collins insisted he was doing his, too.

“I work with the law enforcement,” he told WCCO on March 25. “I bend my back from the day my son went missing. I gave them my car, I gave them my home computer, I gave them my iPad, I gave them my cell phone.”

Turns out, that cell phone was what officers needed to help make the case against him. In the criminal complaint, cell phone records detail the day Barway disappeared.

  • At 9:22 a.m., Collins’s cell phone pinged close to the Mississippi.
  • Barway got home from school at 4:17 p.m.
  • At 4:22 p.m., Collins’s cell pinged at their apartment.
  • At 4:42 p.m., it pinged back at the spot near the river, where Barway’s body was eventually found.
  • From 4:42 p.m. to 4:51 p.m., it was either turned off or put in airplane mode for an hour, until it pinged back at the apartment.
  • At 6:27 p.m., Collins used the phone to report his son missing.

A cell phone specialist, Kyle Opdahl, CEO of Cell Phone Repair Midwest, said the precise timetable is unsurprising and that “they would pull this information off of anyone of us.”

Opdahl said a few years back, towers could only track within a 2- to 3-mile radius, but now they are “extremely accurate, within feet.”

He said cell carriers keep records unless a phone is turned off or on airplane mode. If that happens, as it did for Collins that day, the phone is temporarily untraceable.

These records are property of the cell carriers, but police can obtain them. As technology increases, they’ve become precise tracking tools and can be key evidence.

 

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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