[UPDATE] Idaho Police Admit 'We Don't Know' If Quadruple Homicide Victims Were Targeted by Murderer

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UPDATE: Moscow police have now confirmed what we have suspected. Earlier claims they made that the victims of the quadruple homicide were targeted by the killer were false. In an updated statement, police now say they don’t know.


Here’s the statement:

CLARIFICATION: Conflicting information has been released over the past 24 hours. The Latah County Prosecutor’s Office stated the suspect(s) specifically looked at this residence, and that one or more of the occupants were undoubtedly targeted.

We have spoken with the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office and identified this was a miscommunication. Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but continue to investigate.

Original Article:

The latest information to come out of the Moscow Police Department leaves more questions than answers about the brutal stabbing deaths of four college students at the University of Idaho that happened before Thanksgiving. Press and investigators have been asking for confirmation of a report of a male on campus in September who was reported to have been brandishing a knife. Police issued a statement about that incident on Wednesday evening.

There have been media questions about a September 12th, 2022, incident regarding an argument between a group of people walking on the University of Idaho bike path and a cyclist. It was reported that during the confrontation, the cyclist displayed a folding knife. Both parties dispersed, and there were no injuries. The cyclist turned himself in to the police. The case was investigated and misdemeanor charges were referred to the Moscow City Attorney’s Office. There is no connection with the individual involved in this incident and the current murder investigations.

Of course, if there is a connection, investigators would be unlikely to admit it if it would impede their hunt in any way. At this point with no one under arrest, it’s hard to believe official statements coming from police who have no duty to tell anyone the truth while they are hunting a killer. Students, parents, and residents of Moscow are understandably anxious and seeking information and an arrest, and each day that passes without clear answers makes it harder to calm the anxiety that is rising. While police do have many legitimate reasons (which I analyzed in depth yesterday) to keep the information confidential, the balancing act they need to perform in order to calm a community in trauma is tricky.


What is the public entitled to know? And is there a timeline of when they can expect to have their questions answered? If you were going to bed tonight in Moscow, would you be able to sleep? On top of the anxiety of unanswered questions, the county prosecutor, Bill Thompson, lit a match on a tinderbox by contradicting police about whom or what was “targeted.” Until Thompson stepped in it, the police narrative was that a person or persons in the house were a target of the killer. This narrative allowed them to tell the public not to worry because the boys in blue seemed to have some knowledge that it was a personal attack and not a random psychopath who may strike out again. But Thompson threw cold water on that narrative. Thompson took some time off from prosecuting criminals (or making toys at the North Pole. I’m not convinced this man is not Kris Kringle) and sat down with TMZ, rosy cheeks glowing under his magnificent snowy beard, and poked a hole in the police narrative.

“It seems like the word ‘targeted’ has had different understandings for people who were listening and perhaps isn’t the best word to use,” Thompson told TMZ. “The bottom line is whoever is responsible for this is still at large.” You could almost hear the town of Moscow collectively gasp as the words came out of his mouth. He just painted the picture the police did not want in anyone’s mind. A bloodthirsty maniac is prowling the Idaho woods and hills looking for his next victims. Thompson then went on to say that police believed the killer was targeting the residence. But that would suggest burglary and nothing was stolen from the victims. “Investigators believe that whoever is responsible was specifically looking at this particular residence but that’s all that they can offer at this point.” Why? Was there gold in the walls? What on earth? Thompson went on to say he had no information that would suggest drugs were involved in the attacks.


This interview caused a lot of speculation and confusion, and residents rightly want to know if they should be worried that a knife-wielding maniac is going to come and kill them too in the middle of the night. The press release issued after the close of business on Wednesday went on to try and address Thompson’s remarks but failed to make it clear what the police-approved version is anymore.

Regarding the interview with Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson, we feel his responses were messaged to support the implication that new information had been released. Specifically, generalized statements regarding the potential of targeted victims and the involvement of drugs were redefined into an affirmative answer.

At this time, there is no change or new information in this case, and references otherwise would be inaccurate. We ask the public to refer to the Moscow Police Department website for any updates on the investigation.

Of course, there’s a major problem with this statement. First, it’s a stylistic and grammatical nightmare. “We feel his responses were messaged to support the implication that new information had been released” is too verbose and the word “messaged” is used incorrectly. Did they mean, “We feel his responses implied new information had been released”? That would make more sense. As it is written with so many unnecessary words, the sentence itself appears to be trying to hide under a blanket of bad writing. While it’s understandable that police in the middle of one of the worst murder cases in recent history might be unable to share too much information, the information they do share should be precise, short, and bordering on terse to avoid such mincing weirdness that makes people…I’m just going to say it…suspicious. I feel gaslighted. And that’s not the feeling I like to get after reading a government press release. When it happens, my gut immediately recoils and only two words come to mind: “Uh oh.”


RELATED: 4 Reasons Police Haven’t Arrested or Named a Suspect in the Idaho 4 Murders

Then there was this sentence, which is completely incomprehensible: “Specifically, generalized statements regarding the potential of targeted victims and the involvement of drugs were redefined into an affirmative answer.” I’m sorry…what?

No one who wants you to understand what they are saying writes like this. A public information officer is surely trained to write on an 8th-grade level for the general public as are all communications majors. When they don’t, my instinct says it’s purposeful. My reading level is much higher and I still don’t get this sentence. Did they mean, “The statements regarding targeted victims were incorrect”? That would have been far easier to type and yet we got a word salad peppered with “specifically…generalized…potential…affirmative answer.” I hate this. 

The second part is even worse with the “and the involvement of drugs were redefined into an affirmative answer.” Thompson did not suggest drugs were involved in the affirmative. He specifically said there was no information to suggest any drug involvement, which is not an affirmative shifting of that information as claimed by Moscow Police. It’s the opposite. It is entirely unclear what this press release is trying to say. I actually feel more confused after reading it than I was before they issued it. Did the gas lamps flicker again? 

There is no need for a police department to use words like magic spells that weave a fog of confusion. This is the kind of thing the commissars did in the USSR. We are writing words that mean the opposite of what we mean to confuse and upset you and make you doubt your own sanity—that is the vibe I’m getting here and I don’t like it one bit. You know me. I’m going to tell you how I see it. Yesterday, I didn’t like the media’s relentless pushing for information they might not be entitled to. Today, I’m wondering what the police are trying to keep from us and if it’s actually accomplishing anything other than driving people mad and possibly putting them in danger.


If the police don’t have any evidence that the victims were targeted, they need to say so now. The community is in absolute terror. People need to be able to believe their authorities on the big stuff. While it’s true that police need to lie sometimes in order to catch a villain, they should not tell lies that could endanger an entire community. If they know they don’t know anything and there could be another Richard Ramirez on the loose, they need to say so. If they don’t and someone else is murdered, that town is going to explode. The very existence of UofI will be in jeopardy because no sane parent will pay for their children to live in a murder town. Authorities don’t need to describe the crime scene or the evidence they’ve collected or where the victims were found, but they do need to alert the community if they have made a mistake and the Moscow Maggot is possibly just getting started on a career in serial murder.

In the Ramirez case, when the information did spill out at the end it was the community members of East L.A. who chased the killer down in the street and beat him (with a lead pipe!) until police arrived. The good citizens of the community can help find a killer sometimes if you let them. 

And that is the great balancing act that needs to be carefully managed. Currently, all of Moscow’s weight is thrown behind the police force while the public is vying to just get in the game. They want to help protect themselves. It would be smart policing and community outreach to give them something to do other than call in tips.

The rest of the police statement admonished people for spreading “rumors.” And while rumors and speculation aren’t always helpful and we work to debunk the obvious misinformation here at PJ Media when it comes up, it is what people are going to do when they don’t have any confirmation from authorities about the basic facts of the case. The less information that is released, the more the public will talk amongst themselves and try to figure out whodunnit. This is basic human nature. Hopefully, authorities know this and will work as quickly as they can to provide the public with as much information as they can without compromising their investigation.


The last thing that anyone wants is for the trust to break down between the public and the police in the middle of a heinous crime. If that happens, any calls for patience (as I have urged) will go ignored and an already tense situation can turn very ugly very quickly. If Moscow police have made an error, the best move is to admit it and answer some questions as soon as possible. (And give whoever wrote this press release a different desk job.)

PJ Media will continue to cover this developing story.


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