Moscow police Capt. Roger Lanier was adamant that he sees the end to the investigation of the University of Idaho student murders coming — insisting that investigators will “eventually” find the killer even though a month has passed without authorities determining any suspect or motives.
Lanier said in a Facebook video that police “get a good amount of viable tips” every day.
“Those tips help us do everything from clear people, who maybe there was some speculation about, to further some of the theories that we’re working on,” he said.
“So the next is just to continue on what we’re doing, eliminate the information that we know is not going to be relevant to the investigation, and take all the new information,” Lanier said.
He added that “eventually, we see this coming, eventually we’re going to narrow in on exactly what happened and who did it.”
The captain also described the moment he received word about the horrific crime at the off-campus home where Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, were butchered.
“I got called at home. It was on a Sunday afternoon and it took me a second,” he recalled. “I really had to think about what I had just heard. Four murders in Moscow, Idaho, was so out of character.”
When he arrived at the bloody scene on King Road, students were already standing outside crying.
“The scene wasn’t chaos … but it was very, very somber,” Lanier said.
He said the quadruple murder was the first homicide case in the city in seven years – and the first “major crime scene” many of his younger officers had ever seen.
“Emotionally, it was a very, very draining day,” Lanier said.
He said the Idaho State Police and the FBI quickly joined the complex investigation, which his department couldn’t handle by itself.
“The team effort has been amazing. It’s been overwhelming at times, but there are so many people with so much expertise. Somebody always steps up and takes the role that needs to be filled,” the captain said.
Lanier said the “most frustrating” part of their work has been the rampant rumors and speculation, which have led to death threats and impeded the probe.
“We find ourselves not only tracking those rumors down and trying to quell them, but also we see our tips that come in are geared more toward the rumor and not the facts that had been put out,” he said.
In a statement, police asked the public to “stay focused on the official facts” released by the department.
“Over the past four weeks, rumors and speculation has led members of the public to provide tips based on rumors rather than official information provided about the case,” it said.
“Rumors and speculation have also affected the families of the victims, friends, and fellow students. In some cases, this has led to harassing and threatening behavior toward potentially involved parties,” the statement went on.
“Anyone engaging in threats or harassment whether in person, online or otherwise needs to understand that they could be subjecting themselves to criminal charges,” it added.