Don't forget Wil Hendrick: Unsolved 1999 murder of UI student casts shadow over latest massacre
On January 10, 1999, Wil, 25, a University of Idaho student, vanished from a party, and his skull was discovered in a forest three years later
MOSCOW, IDAHO: In light of four University of Idaho students that were brutally murdered in Moscow, Idaho, the curious death of Wil Hendrick (former student at Idaho University) shares striking similarities as killers of both cases have not been identified so far. Wil’s body was recovered three years after the murder in 1996 and the case is still unsolved due to the lack of evidence. In the most recent one, four students were found dead at their rented house.
On January 10, 1996, Wil, a 25-year-old University of Idaho student, vanished from a party at the intersection of Almond and C Street in Moscow. He had a boyfriend named Jerry Schutz. After Wil’s disappearance, Schutz spent each day hoping Hendrick would return home. In 1999, when Wil’s skull was discovered in Eastern Latah County's forests three and a half years after he vanished, his death was classified as murder. Wil’s killer has not yet been found and apprehended. A once-laughing and friend-filled evening became one that was filled with unanswered questions as Wil went missing after a trending party in 1996. His vehicle was curiously discovered parked downtown after a week. His office keys were still inside and the wheels had mud on them.
Wayne Rausch, the case's principal investigator, claimed that the car's driver and passenger windows had both been rolled down a few inches. Since there were cracks, the chilly winter air seeped in and washed away any potential fingerprints that might have served as proof. Duke and Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch talk about the case frequently. They are currently reviewing the physical evidence and may eventually resubmit it to the state crime lab for analysis using more modern methods. When Hendrick vanished, Rausch was a detective at the sheriff's office but Jeff Crouch, the sheriff at the time, removed him from the investigation. A truck driver and a hitchhiker were eventually deemed the two main suspects in the case by Moscow Police Department.
Wil’s father Keith who died in 2021 expressed his grief in an interview with The Lewiston Tribune in 2008. Keith stated he was unsure if his son's sexual orientation contributed to his demise. But he stressed that Moscow is often a gay-welcoming city. Every holiday season, according to Keith Hendrick, is difficult because his son's birthday falls on Christmas Eve rather than because he disappeared during that period. "(Wil) really liked Moscow," Keith Hendrick said. "A number of people from the gay community showed up to help with the search.” Even though Keith claimed he wasn't vengeful about the fact that his son's killer hadn't been caught, he was concerned that the person was still free to harm others. "A lot of people that kill somebody and get away with it, they'll kill another one or two in their lifetime. We know the good Lord will take care of this one, but we'd like to get him caught so he doesn't do anymore," he said to The Lewiston Tribune.