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Law Enforcement Source Says Officers Were ‘Breaking Down’ At Idaho Murder Scene
“It wasn’t a clean crime scene,” an unnamed law enforcement source said. “There was cross contamination between the rooms.”
A law enforcement source has said that officers were “breaking down” at the scene where four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death.
The unnamed source, who was said to be familiar with the investigation, described the emotional scene the afternoon of Nov. 13 to People.
“We had officers breaking down at the scene,” the source said. “It wasn’t a clean crime scene. There was cross contamination between the rooms. This wasn’t a professional job — this was something more haphazard.”
The bodies of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Ethan Chapin, 20; and Xana Kernodle, 20; were discovered just before noon on Nov. 13.
Moscow Police said last month that two surviving roommates woke up and discovered what they believed to be one of the victims “passed out and not waking up” on the second-floor of the home. They summoned friends to the residence at 1122 King Rd. for help and someone placed a call to 911 at 11:58 a.m. to request assistance “for an unconscious victim.”
When officers arrived a short time later, they found Xana Kernodle and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin dead on the second-floor of the home.
Goncalves’ father, Steven Goncalves, previously told Fox News that his daughter and Mogen were found stabbed to death in the same bed on the home’s third floor, describing the wounds as “big open gouges.”
For nearly seven weeks, authorities said they were chasing down leads and later announced Friday that 28-year-old Bryan Kohberger — a Ph.D. student in criminal justice at the nearby Washington State University — had been arrested for the killings.
Prior to the release of an arrest affidavit, investigators were tight-lipped about what linked Kohberger to the crime, but the law enforcement source told People that the 28-year-old had allegedly been following at least two of the victims on Instagram before their deaths.
“We're operating on the assumption that at least one of the victims knew the person or persons responsible," says the police source of the investigation. "But nothing is really off the table. We don't want to rule anything out until we know for sure."
Oxygen.com reached out Moscow Police for comment, but an Idaho judge signed a “nondissemination order” earlier this week preventing law enforcement or attorneys involved in the case with commenting publicly.
Before the order was put into place, however, Moscow Police Capt. Roger Lanier described arriving at the “very, very somber” murder scene in a video statement released last month by the department.
According to his account, after police got over the “initial shock,” they “just kind of fell into a role that was an all-hands-on deck moment.”
“It became fairly apparent when I got to the scene that we were going to need resources outside of just what the Moscow Police Department could provide and we have a very, very good working relationship with the Idaho State Police,” he said. “We knew what their capabilities were and so that was the first call that we made to have their investigative team come up and help us process the scene.”
He went on to say the scene “wasn’t chaos” but that it was emotional for many of the victims’ friends, neighbors and family members.
“Many of them through word of mouth knew what happened. They were standing outside, there was a lot of crying,” Lanier said. “There were friends trying to find out who exactly who was inside the house, some family members (had) arrived on scene.”
Lanier also described the impact of the scene on law enforcement officers.
“It was incredibly hard for the community but it was also really hard on our officers, some of whom were very young and that was the first real major crime scene that they had encountered,” he said. “So emotionally it was a very, very draining day.”
Kohberger was taken into custody Friday at his parent’s Pennsylvania home, after his father flew to Washington earlier that month and drove with him to Pennsylvania to spend the holidays together.
The pair were stopped in Kohberger’s white Hyundai Elantra twice by Indiana police on Dec. 15 for following too close to other vehicles during the cross-country drive. A law enforcement source told Fox News the FBI had directed the police to make the stops in an attempt to get images of Kohberger, as well as his hands.
Both times they were given verbal warnings and allowed to continue on their drive.
For weeks before the arrest, Moscow Police had been searching for a white Hyundai Elantra that had been spotted near the crime scene around the time of the murders.
A law enforcement source told CNN that authorities were also able to link the crime to Kohberger after allegedly finding his DNA at the crime scene.
However, Jason LaBar, a Monroe County public defender who represented Kohberger in Pennsylvania during the extradition hearing, told the “TODAY” show earlier this week that Kohberger “believes he’s going to be exonerated.”
After waiving extradition, Kohberger returned to Idaho on Wednesday. He’s currently facing four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary.