Fingerprint, DNA and cellphone tracking led investigators to mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc

WASHINGTON — A single fingerprint helped lead the FBI to the man accused of mailing bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Since the first bomb was discovered Monday at the home of billionaire and Democratic donor George Soros, at least 13 packages containing bombs were mailed.

All of those turned out to be strikingly similar. They were sent in a manila envelope, several with six America forever stamps, with the return address of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, with her name misspelled.

device.jpg
This photo obtained by CBS News shows what is described as the explosive device sent to former CIA Director John Brennan at CNN's New York City offices.

The investigation immediately kicked into high gear. The bombs, which the FBI referred to as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, were sent to the FBI's bomb laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. There, within hours on Thursday, investigators found a solitary fingerprint from one of two packages addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters. Then they lifted DNA samples from two IEDs.

"Once I knew they had a print, I was pretty confident that we would be able to find the right person," said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The FBI matched the fingerprint and DNA to Cesar Sayoc and alerted law enforcement in Florida. Investigators used video surveillance near a South Florida postal facility to identify Sayoc. An electronic device was then used to ping and track his cellphone, leading to his location. 

On Friday morning, they moved in. It took a little over a day from the first fingerprint being detected to Sayoc's arrest.

The FBI said Friday that the bombs -- none of which exploded -- were not hoaxes. They all contained explosive material that could have ignited if exposed to heat or pressure.

But investigators still don't know whether all the bombs that were mailed have been found.

"There may be other packages in transit now and other packages on the way so we need the help from everyone out there. Every citizen, everyone in law enforcement, and everyone we've got," said Wray.

Special Report: Mail bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc charged with 5 federal crimes