Police reflect on the ‘emotional highs and lows’ of month-old UI killings investigation
Dec. 13, 2022 Updated Tue., Dec. 13, 2022 at 7:57 p.m.
Investigators took a moment Tuesday to reflect on the homicide investigation of four University of Idaho students were killed in an off-campus home one month ago.
Moscow police Capt. Roger Lanier was called at home on Sunday, Nov. 13, and told the shocking news that four people had been found dead, he recounted in a video posted to the department’s Facebook page Tuesday.
“I really had to think about what I had just heard,” Lanier said. “Four murders in Moscow, Idaho, is so out of character.”
Lanier, like the majority of the Moscow Police Department, responded to the home at 1122 King Road, where the bodies of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were discovered at about noon.
“That was an all-hands-on-deck moment Sunday afternoon,” Lanier said.
It became immediately apparent the small police department would need outside resources, so they called in the Idaho State Police to help process the scene, Lanier said.
“The scene wasn’t chaos,” Lanier said. “But it was very, very somber.”
Neighbors, friends and students stood outside crying, Lanier described. Family members of one of the victims arrived outside too, Lanier said.
“Emotionally, it was a very, very draining day,” Lanier said.
The first three days of the investigation were an effort in coordination, as the FBI became involved along with ISP, Lanier said.
There have been “a lot of emotional highs and lows,” over the last month, Lanier said, but the one constant has been an incredible amount of teamwork.
“The general public doesn’t have any idea of the scope of this investigation,” Lanier said.
Investigators from all over Idaho are assisting on the case, along with FBI analysts in Virginia. The FBI’s command post is parked in the Moscow Police Department’s parking lot.
“The team effort has been amazing,” Lanier said. “It has been overwhelming at times, but there are so many people with so much expertise. Someone always steps up and takes the role that needs to be filled.”
A month into the investigation, police have no suspects and have yet to find the weapon used in the attack. Still, Lanier said the case is far from cold.
Investigators are getting viable tips every day and believe they can eventually catch the person or persons who killed the students, Lanier said.
The police department has released few details about the investigation and has not held a news conference in more than a week.
All the while, online speculation about the case has grown.
“That has been by far the most frustrating part of this,” Lanier said.
The online rumors and theories are leading to a slew of tips not based in fact, Lanier said.
The speculation has gone so far that loved ones of the victims are even getting death threats, Lanier said.
“It just revictimizes folks who have already suffered this terrible trauma,” he said.
Investigators continue to ask for tips related to the case at (208) 883-7180, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and digital media at fbi.gov/moscowidaho.
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