There have been speculations on the whereabouts of George Zimmerman after he was released from jail. But authorities say he is being tracked with a GPS device that can pinpoint his location at any time and alert authorities if he tries to escape.
According to Tampa Bay Online, he was released out of jail in the early morning darkness on Monday and immediately went into hiding. He was allowed to leave jail after he had put up 10 percent of the $150,000 bond. Digital Journal reports the neighborhood watch volunteer was charged with second-degree murder after he shot 17-year-old African-American Trayvon Martin at close range on February 26.
IB Times reports he left jail with another man, avoiding eye contact with photographers who were waiting outside. He and the unidentified man drove away in a BMW. He had surrendered his passport before he left jail, and according to court orders, he cannot have a gun. He is not allowed to have any contact with Martin's family or consume alcohol.
It is believed that he has fled Florida for another state to avoid threats to his life. Tampa Bay Online reports he will likely remain in hiding for a long time. He waived appearance at his upcoming arraignment next month so that he can remain in hiding. According to Tampa Bay Online: "Zimmerman already has experience laying low: For more than a month before his arrest, he eluded the media and his whereabouts were not known. His attorney has suggested he had several options for where Zimmerman can stay this time, and a judge indicated he was willing to let Zimmerman leave the state."
According to Jose Baez, a former attorney for Casey Anthony: "He may be free, but he's not free. First, Zimmerman must limit who knows his whereabouts to avoid the risk someone will give the secret away. Unfortunately, the people you think you trust, sometimes you find you just really can't."
While he is in hiding, Zimmerman is allowed to avoid curious onlookers and the media by disguising, and according to Evan Ratliff, author of "On how to vanish in the 21st century," he must go to a place where he knows only very few people, and where he is least likely to be recognized at sight. Ratliff said: "He needs to be where he is not around people who are known to be close to him. Not a friend's house. Not a relative's house." He also must refrain from making public statements, especially via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter or on his own website. Ratliff said: "Anytime you are on the Internet, you are potentially traceable. The best way to not be found by anyone is to not use any technology at all."
AP reports that local bail bondsmen whose clients have worn the GPS tracking device say it is a very highly sensitive device that can send messages to monitoring computers in real-time. Seminole County Sheriff's officials are not giving details on how the GPS device is being used to monitor Zimmerman but they say he is wearing it 24/7 and his movements are being monitored round-the-clock.
According to AP, the device must be worn at all times, even while bathing. Mena Trombino, manager of MacDonald Bail Bonds, says people who have worn the device after posting bail have only rarely complained. She said: "The only time we ever had anybody complain was when one guy had to wear it to work."
According to David Engel, who runs a bail bonds business in Sanford, the technology is so sensitive that the monitoring computer can be alerted if the wearer strays unintentionally a few feet into a restricted area.
AP reports the device has been in use since 2003 in Seminole and according to a news release by the sheriff's office, it provides "real-time monitoring of an offender's movements and is capable of monitoring anywhere in the U.S." The news release also said that the device has saved $950,000 by keeping people of jail. AP reports Zimmerman is paying $8 fee a day to use the device.
According Engel, "It does help us out as far as keeping track of people, there's no doubt about it. It does not come off. It's locked on their leg. If it ever came off it would send a signal. They're not very strong, but it can't just fall off." Engel said the device is like a cellphone. It consists of a small box, receiver and battery charger and it is fixed to the user's ankle with a thin strap. A computer software enables "inclusionary zones" and allows the device monitor and determine whether the person is being complaint with his release conditions, which in Zimmerman's case, includes where he is allowed to go and whether he is observing curfew imposed on him. Zimmerman has been asked to observe a curfew between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.
AP reports that the tracking device has so far been used mostly to monitor suspects in domestic violence cases, to make sure they do not come close to their alleged victims.