Idaho Quadruple Murder’s Aftermath Ruptures Community

The aftermath of the grisly murder of four University of Idaho students last month, in which the police are yet to announce a suspect, caused ruptures in the local community.

Many residents have become suspicious of each other and started to invent their theories about the horrifying case.

Locals Viewing Each Other as Suspects

The quadruple murder, which claimed the lives of students Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, and Ethan Chapin, was committed in November in a house near the university campus.

The stabbing deaths of the four young people, who were all members of UI fraternities and sororities, shook the small university town of Moscow, Idaho with a population of 25,000.

After the initial shock, however, the community has been gripped by suspicion and fear, mainly because local police seem to have no clue of who committed the quadruple killing and what the murderer’s motive may have been.

The mystery murder has grabbed the attention of “armchair detectives and internet sleuths” from around the world, according to an AP report.

However, the real impact of the explosion of speculations, conspiracy theories, and hypotheses is only felt in Moscow, Idaho. People are “doxxing,” i.e., sharing online the personal information of many victims’ friends and acquaintances, trying to link some to the murder.

Idaho State Police trooper Tauna Davis, who is helping police, said people in the community had begun to go “down rabbit holes” by “hyperfocusing” on a particular person, then attacking him or her. The victim of such attacks, however, is “most likely innocent.”

Julie Wiest, a professor of sociology at the West Chester University of Pennsylvania, is quoted as saying police would have typically released a lot more facts in such murder cases.

In her words, a situation where so few facts are publicly available is usually seen in “high-profile cold cases.”

Wiest noted some volunteer “detectives” might be well-intentioned. Still, they didn’t seem to realize the harm they were causing the victims’ families by putting their speculations, suspicions, and doxxing information on the internet.

‘Nothing Makes Sense’

Some of the sleuths have thus claimed a local person’s hunting trip photo made that resident a suspect because it showed a fixed-blade knife – even though such blades are standard in the area.

Others have taken to a completely anonymous online forum to post information about various Moscow residents who they claim should be treated as suspects.

Still, others have taken to going through obituaries of UI students who died in recent years and are trying to find a “connection” to the quadruple murder.

A Moscow Police Department spokeswoman, Robbie Johnson, slammed such speculations as “awful” and said she had lots of sympathy for those whose information was shared online and were viewed as suspects by amateur “detectives.”

Meanwhile, the father of Kaylee Goncalves, one of the four killed UI students, told Fox News on Saturday that Moscow police had nothing conclusive and were still searching for clues to identify a suspect.

He said his family would not celebrate Christmas as it remains in a state where nothing about his daughter’s murder “makes sense.”

This article appeared in Mainstpress and has been published here with permission.