FBI investigators have admitted that a hard drive belonging to Stephen Paddock, which contained key information about the motive behind the attack, has gone missing.
Investigators examining Paddocks’ laptop have said that the hard drive inside was completely removed shortly before he began the shooting spree on Oct. 1.
ABC News reports: The absence of substantial digital clues has left investigators struggling to piece together what triggered Paddock to kill 58 innocent concertgoers and injure more than 500 others on Oct. 1.
Authorities are examining every aspect of Paddock’s life — from his family, friends and associates to his travel patterns, health and finances. So far, a motive has been elusive to investigators.
The frequent gambler, described as a loner, spent months amassing his arsenal, staying under the radar with no one suspecting he would turn to extreme violence.
His finances did not appear to be a problem and Paddock had settled any debts he had with casinos shortly before the attack, a source said.
Other mass shooters in the United States have left behind writings or manifestos explaining their actions — however deranged those explanations may have been.
Paddock, however, left behind no such writings or evidence.
He is not the first mass shooter to destroy or hide digital clues.
In 2007, Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung Hui removed the hard drive of his computer and disposed of his cell phone shortly before the massacre. Authorities even searched a pond for the missing digital media, but the devices were never recovered.
The 2008 Northern Illinois shooter, Steven Kazmierczak, removed the SIM card from his phone and the hard drive from his laptop, and neither was recovered.
In 2012, Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza had removed the hard drive from his computer and smashed it with a hammer or screwdriver.