Body camera footage released showing a group walking near the crime scene at 3 a.m. has been the subject of increased scrutiny in the murder investigation of four University of Idaho students.
Students Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were killed in bed and stabbed in the chest and upper body with a large knife between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Nov. 13. Their bodies were not discovered by police until the afternoon that day.
At 2:50 a.m., plainclothes officers conducted an unrelated stop of three students suspected of underage drinking as they were walking across a field in between the Sigma Chi fraternity house and the women’s rental home on King Road. The footage is stamped at 3:12 a.m., per the video obtained by Fox News.
However, police in Moscow, Idaho, say they have found nothing of value in the bodycam footage. In a press release sent Tuesday, Moscow police asked the public to “stay focused on official facts.”
“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,” the release read.
Captain Roger Lanier said in a video reflecting on the investigation on Tuesday that rumors and speculation have been the “most frustrating” part of the case, particularly when people add unvetted details to a small piece of evidence.
“We want to protect the integrity of this investigation,” he said. “Just look at social media and the rumors that fly out there. A small piece of information that has speculation added to it just takes its own life on the internet and starts rumors. And then we find ourselves not only tracking those rumors down and trying to quell them, but also we see our tips that come in are gearing more toward the rumor, not the facts that have been put out.”
Lanier said rumors and speculation had affected the families of the victims, friends, and other university students, with some receiving death threats and constant harassment from the media. He reminded the public that anyone engaging in threats or harassment in person or online could be subjected to criminal charges.
He said he gets tips every day that are viable, and while some are not relevant to the investigation, the case is far from going cold.
“Those tips help us do everything from clear people who, maybe, there were some speculation about, to further some of the theories that we’re working on,” he said. “Eventually, and we see this coming, we are going to narrow in on exactly what happened and who did it.”