Time ‘biggest enemy’ in Idaho stabbing case: forensics expert

Idaho College Killings

(NewsNation) — When it comes to the investigation over four University of Idaho students who were killed in November, time is “the biggest enemy,” Joseph Scott Morgan, a forensics professor, said Wednesday.

It’s been more than a month since Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20 and Ethan Chapin, 20 were found dead in a rental home near the Moscow, Idaho campus, but no suspect has been found yet.

Kernodle, Goncalves and Mogen were roommates. Chapin and Kernodle had been dating. All four died from stab wounds, and were likely asleep at the time of the attack, according to preliminary findings by a county coroner.

Because of this, there have been some people questioning — and others expressing frustration with — local law enforcement. While it’s good to keep investigators accountable, Morgan, who teaches at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, said people need to be careful while doing so.

“It’s important to have pressure on the situation as long as goodwill is involved, (and) that you don’t have bad actors that are jumping to wild conclusions, which are floating about,” Morgan said.

For instance, Morgan said, social media “ran wild” over a Hyundai Elantra found in Eugene, Oregon, because that’s the kind of car Moscow police says was in the area at the time of the killings. However, police later said there is no indication the car is connected to the Idaho case.

While the Oregon car turned out to “essentially be nothing,” Morgan said it would have been a problem if there were private citizens gawking at it.

“If it’s a vital piece of evidence, then they could have put their hands all over it — I don’t see goodwill involved in that,” Morgan said on “NewsNation Live.” “I see self-service involved in that. We all have to be on the same team pushing the same direction and supporting these law enforcement officers and investigators.”

Still, it gives Morgan hope that police are specifically looking for a car.

“The car that they’re looking for will have, perhaps, specific trace evidence (that) ties backs to the scene,” Morgan said. “There’s a big process of not just identifying individuals, but also eliminating individuals. So if there’s unknown DNA that they have at that scene, and it can be tied back to a car, perhaps that could be significant.”

If you have information that could be helpful for law enforcement, you can contact them at their tip Line: 208-883-7180, email tipline@ci.moscow.id.us, or go online to fbi.gov/moscowidaho.

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