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Moscow police: Bustamante acted alone

Police have completed an investigation into the murder of a University of Idaho graduate student, the AP reports, finding a professor acted alone when he killed the young woman he had recently dated outside her Moscow home and then committed suicide. “No evidence to date has been found to indicate that (Ernesto) Bustamante acted with or was provided assistance by another person while committing this crime,” the Moscow Police Department said Friday; click below for a full report from AP reporter Jessie Bonner.


Police: UI murder-suicide investigation finished
By JESSIE L. BONNER, Associated Press


BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Police have completed an investigation into the murder of a University of Idaho graduate student, finding a professor acted alone when he killed the young woman he had recently dated outside her Moscow home and then committed suicide.

Ernesto Bustamante resigned from the university Aug. 19 and three days later, gunned down 22-year-old Katy Benoit, police said. Bustamante later checked into a Moscow hotel and requested an 11 a.m. wake-up call for the next day before he turned a gun on himself.

“No evidence to date has been found to indicate that Bustamante acted with or was provided assistance by another person while committing this crime,” the Moscow Police Department said Friday.

Bustamante had created files on his personal computer that included Benoit's class schedule and her home address, police said. A day after the shooting, he was found dead in his hotel room with six guns and medications for bipolar disorder and severe anxiety.

A .45-caliber handgun was among the weapons recovered and one has been identified as the weapon used to kill Benoit on the evening of Aug. 22, which also marked the first day of classes for the fall 2011 semester on the northern Idaho campus.

Benoit met Bustamante in the fall of 2010 when she took his psychology course and by the end of the semester they were dating. Benoit told the university in June that her relationship with Bustamante ended after he had pointed a loaded gun at her head on three separate occasions, detailing the manner in which he would use it.

University officials have defended their response to Benoit's complaint, saying they contacted police immediately and complied with Benoit's wishes while investigating her claims. Bustamante was served the complaint July 6 after university officials received permission to do so from Benoit. That day, Bustamante used MapQuest to get directions to the home of Benoit's parents in Boise, according to university computer records obtained by the AP and other media outlets.

Bustamante had been directed to have no contact with Benoit and it's unclear if he made the trip to Idaho's capital city.

In an electronic folder on his personal computer, Bustamante created a file with Benoit's address in Moscow on Aug. 9, police said. He created another file with her class schedule Aug. 18, a day before his resignation became official.

“He had access to student records as a faculty member on that date, and it appears that he used that access to download her class schedule,” said university spokeswoman Tania Thompson.

The folder including the two files was last accessed on Aug. 22, the day Benoit was murdered, police said.

The university convened an independent panel to investigate school policies and procedures following the deaths.

The panel released its findings last month, and suggested administrators develop a better way to handle concerns about disturbing or disruptive behavior by faculty members in an effort to keep students and employees safe. In response, the school created a task force to review and implement the panel's recommendations.

Faculty leaders have also worked to revise university policy to more strongly discourage relationships between faculty members.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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