Inside the crime lab as Idaho investigators face complex case

Idaho College Killings

(NewsNation)  — The home where four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death is a complicated scene for investigators. With the killer not captured and the weapon not yet found, every bit of evidence could be the key piece that could crack the case wide open.

Considering the unimaginable amount of blood and the complexity of a bustling home with plenty of visitors, the forensics team is working on a case like few others.

Jacksonville State University Forensics Professor Joseph Scott Morgan has taken note of the intricacy of the investigation and how the killer slipped into the home on Moscow’s King Road leaving behind no broken windows and no broken doors.

“It’s so very complex. We’re not talking about a person that just randomly walks up on the street and stabs somebody and walks away,” Morgan said. “We’re talking about four individuals here.”

Morgan pointed out that is a big piece of information for investigators.

“If you’re looking at a potential suspect, what level of familiarity did they have with this environment?” he asked. “Did they feel comfortable in it? Did they know their way around?”

The case also carries a complicated stew of DNA from the roommates since the property was a hopping college house to many guests.

NewsNation got an exclusive look inside the Idaho State Crime Lab outside Boise ready for the complexity of this case and others. The lab demonstrated for NewsNation how elimination fingerprinting works for cases with a crowded home or in a car with passengers.

But, Idaho’s Director of Forensic Services reminded the public that speedy and slick TV evidence processing is not the real deal.

“We call it the CSI effect. Some people think, well, we should be able to do this. But the technology doesn’t exist for that yet,” Laboratory Director Matthew Gamette said.

Meanwhile, time is certainly moving slowly back in Moscow, with the decision to tow the victims’ vehicles weeks after the murders.

“Wherever it is they’re storing them, I hope that it would be at the Idaho State Crime Lab because at crime labs, they have actual evidence processing garages,” Morgan said. “At that scene, what did they have? They had a piece of yellow tape that was providing security.”

The careful processing of one single clue left behind could serve as the best hope to find justice for the lives of Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.

Idaho State Police say its crime lab has already finished some testing and forwarded their detailed analysis to detectives. Still, more test results are due back.

Investigators are still looking for context and clues surrounding the quadruple murder case. Information can be submitted to detectives in the following ways:

Tip Line: 208-883-7180

Email: tipline@ci.moscow.id.us

Digital Media: fbi.gov/moscowidaho

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