Idaho massacre: Extremely bloody crime scene could be major challenge for investigators, expert says

According to a forensic expert, if all the blood at the crime scene is 'commingled', it will be difficult to distinguish individual samples

Idaho massacre: Extremely bloody crime scene could be major challenge for investigators, expert says
Four students of the University of Idaho were murdered in a property located on King Road in Moscow (Instagram/@kayleegoncalves, ABC screengrab)
ADVERTISEMENT

MOSCOW, IDAHO: The Idaho murders are proving an uphill task for police as the individual behind the grisly slayings is still at large. According to an expert, investigators face a "major challenge" at the blood-soaked crime scene where four University of Idaho students were brutally murdered on Sunday, November 13, Fox News Digital reported.

ADVERTISEMENT

"From a blood evidence standpoint, this is a profoundly bloody scene," said Joseph Morgan, an applied forensics scholar at Jacksonville State University. "It's going to be a very complicated case when you go through blood evidence, when you go to do DNA typing. It's a major challenge." The Moscow Police department is yet to zero in on a suspect for the horrific murder.

ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE

Who is James Fry? Moscow police chief called 'incompetent' for botched University of Idaho murder probe

Police release chilling timeline of the four University of Idaho students on the night they were murdered

ADVERTISEMENT

Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were stabbed to death on November 13 between 3 and 4 am in an off-campus housing unit in Moscow, Idaho. According to Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt, each student was stabbed multiple times in the chest area, probably by the same weapon.

Former NYPD sergeant Joseph Giacolone, adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said perpetrators often injure themselves during stabbings. "If you're stabbing and hit the bone, the knife kicks back, and your hand gets sliced," he said. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Obtaining a sample of the killer's DNA could be very difficult, even if they left one behind. "If we believe this is a single killer with a single weapon, the killer is migrating from body to body, and you'll have what's called commingling of blood," Morgan said. "Here's the rub. If this blood is all commingled, it's difficult to distinguish the individual samples," he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Investigators contacted some shops around to determine whether they had recently sold any fixed-blade knives. According to one store manager, police specifically asked him about a Ka-Bar-style knife. In his opinion, investigators could have identified this particular knife because of its hilt, which might have left bruises around the victims' stab wounds when thrust violently. Morgan and Giacolone emphasize that the investigation is still in its early stages, and their analysis of the crime scene is speculative.

ADVERTISEMENT

"This wasn’t like a pinpoint crime. This person was sloppy," the slain student's father, Steve Goncalves, told Fox News. "There's a mess there. And they're gonna have to go through that point by point, and that's going to take a lot of time. That's why they reached out to other facilities to help them with that lab work."

ADVERTISEMENT

According to Jim Clemente, a former FBI agent and producer of CBS' 'Criminal Minds', the massive exodus of students for Thanksgiving break poses another significant challenge for detectives. Additionally, many residents fled over fears that the killer remained at large. "This exodus would mask the offender leaving town," he said. "It could also mean that witnesses who saw something relevant are also gone." 

ADVERTISEMENT

Considering there had been no murders in the seven years prior to the stabbings, a small city like Moscow would have fewer surveillance cameras than a large one, Clemente noted. As for the killer's attributes, Clemente said he didn't think the attack was random and described the killer as "sloppy and young." "It just seems like a targeted event," said Clemente, a criminal profiling expert. "I think it was building up in him for a while, and he just lashed out."

ADVERTISEMENT

Investigators are following every lead, as per Idaho State Police communications director Aaron Snell, who spoke to Fox News Digital. "We have not come to any conclusion yet, and I know that’s frustrating to the public, but this is a very complex and difficult case," he said.

Moscow police are asking anyone with information on the event to call them at (208) 883-7054 or send an email to [email protected]

ADVERTISEMENT

Share this article: Idaho massacre: Extremely bloody crime scene could be major challenge for investigators, expert says