Reuters reports that a 39-page application for a search warrant finally solved the mystery, quelling the numerous conspiracy theories that have popped up on social media.
According to local news station KRQE, federal agents found child porn linked to an IP address at the Sunspot observatory in July. In August, they spoke to the chief observer at the facility, who said he found a laptop running in empty offices over the past months. He told the FBI that what he found on the computer was "not good" and that it looked like child pornography.
The times that the child porn was being sent out and received by the facility matched only one employee, a janitor who was hired about a year ago. After the janitor noticed his computer was missing he apparently became erratic. The director of the observatory said that he "feverishly started looking through the facility," and said that it was "only a matter of time before the facility got hit."
The janitor apparently conveyed that he "believed there was a serial killer in the area" who may enter the observatory and execute someone, according to the director.
Even local authorities were left grasping for straws during the roughly 10-day closure. "I think it's chicken sh*t the way the FBI handled it. I have a responsibility to protect my citizens," said the local sheriff, Otero County Sheriff Benny House, after it was announced that the observatory would be reopened on September 16. The post office on the compound and people living nearby who were also evacuated in early September were also allowed to return.
The Sheriff had been fighting for details since the beginning. His team was asked to help by the FBI but he gave up when they wouldn't give him any details as he had not perceived any threats himself. "There was a Blackhawk helicopter, a bunch of people around antennas and work crews on towers, but nobody would tell us anything,” he said at the time.
A private security company was also called in to do patrols in the area, but was also left out in the dark about the nature of the FBI investigation. The FBI repeatedly refused to answer questions from local authorities or reporters.
Speculation about the case grew so intense that the observatory felt the need to put the conspiracies to rest, saying "it definitely wasn't aliens."