A former FBI profiler said that one of the four University of Idaho students who were killed suffered excessive injuries, which shows that the killer intended to target her.
In the deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and her boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, authorities have not yet identified a suspect. On November 13, they were discovered dead from a stabbing at a rental home off-campus.
Police detectives have stated that they think the killings were the result of a “targeted attack,” but they have not specified how they came to that conclusion.
Mogen and Goncalves died in the same room on the house’s third floor, but it has since been discovered that Goncalves’ wounds were “significantly more brutal” than those suffered by her best friend.
Mary Ellen O’Toole, who retired as an FBI profiler in 2009, said this “would suggest that the offender’s target was Kaylee.”
“At a scene where there are multiple victims, profilers always look at which victim was the focus of the offender,” O’Toole said.
This is determined, she said, “by the injury patterns to the victims and if one victim is treated differently in terms of their injuries.” O’Toole said it might also depend on how the perpetrator treated the victim in other ways, such as where they were placed at the murder scene.
Gregg McCrary, a different former FBI profiler, has opined that there might be further explanations for why one victim experienced greater violence. In an interview with NewsNation earlier this week, McCrary stated that he had worked on other instances of multiple murders when the victim who suffered severe injuries was not the intended victim.
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“It was the person who had put up the most resistance and enraged the killer, so… the killer inflicted more wounds on that person, even though that person wasn’t specifically targeted,” McCrary said.
“So we could be dealing with anything like that. So it’s important not to get tunnel vision on a given hypothesis, important to have multiple competing hypotheses and then let the evidence sort that out and support one and maybe dismiss the other.”
The Moscow Police Department on Monday said it is “committed to providing information whenever possible but not at the expense of compromising the investigation and prosecution.”
There have been “statements and speculation about this case, victim injuries, cause of death, evidence collection and processing, and investigative techniques,” the department said in a news release.
“With the active criminal investigation, law enforcement has not released additional facts to the family or the public. We recognize the frustration this causes, and that speculation proliferates in the absence of facts. However, we firmly believe speculation and unvetted information is a disservice to the victims, their families, and our community.”
According to the police department, beginning on Wednesday, authorities will start taking the victims’ things out of the residence and returning them to their families.
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