Criminal experts reveal three major missteps in the Idaho murder investigation


Experts have pointed to a series of missteps in the investigation into the murder of four University of Idaho students.

The brutal stabbings have received national attention as local Moscow police, who committed the last murder in 2015 before the November 13 quadruple tragedy, scramble to gather the evidence.

More than 10 days after the brutal stabbings of Xana Kernodle, 20, Ethan Chapin, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, and Madison Moge, 21, no arrests have been made in the case and the suspects have yet to be identified.

More details are expected to be revealed at a press conference on Wednesday.

While the public and grieving families have grown frustrated with, respectively, the lack of information being released and the conspiracy theories being fueled by Internet sleuths, a retired NYPD sergeant told UKTN that Moscow police have revealed a lot.

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“Detectives have provided too much information,” Joseph Giacalone, a 20-year police veteran and professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told the network.

Mr. Giacalone then criticized Latah County coroner Cathy Mabbutt, who appeared in several interviews with media outlets across the country and revealed what Mr. Giacalone described as speculation.

Ms Mabbutt called the killings “personal” after carrying out the autopsies, revealing that the victims were found in their beds and likely asleep when they were attacked. She added that the weapon used was a “big knife.”

“It was not only surprising, but also aggravating,” Giacalone told UKTN. “It’s not for her to research and speculate on this thing on TV.”

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Another source of controversy in the handling of the investigation is the initial assessment by Moscow Police Chief Jame Fry, who reassured the community in the small college town that three days after the violent killings there was no continuing threat.

He later backtracked on those comments and asked residents to remain vigilant and careful of their surroundings.

“They don’t have an identified suspect and they still don’t have a motive, so until you get those two extremely vital pieces, you can’t reassure the public,” Mr. Giacalone told UKTN.

On Wednesday, Moscow police said the crime scene had been expanded to include the parking lot, but a day earlier an Idaho state police spokesman had told UKTN that was not the case and that the border tape had been moved because “detectives needed extra space to work”.

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Following the murders, Moscow Mayor Art Bettge offered a premature evaluation of the murders, calling them “a crime of passion”. According to the city’s website, Bettge appears to have no background in criminology.

Herman Weisberg, who is also a retired NYPD officer, told UKTN that while the department is inundated with requests from news outlets, the integrity of the investigation must remain the top priority.

“Personally, I cringe when I see the media and the public’s demands for information outweigh the need to maintain the integrity of the investigation,” Mr. Weisberg stated. “This is all because of the armchair detectives out there on social media.”


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