What the hell is going on in Moscow, Idaho?
A brutal quadruple-murder is rapidly becoming the bizarre crime of the century
Four young college students were brutally stabbed to death in Moscow, Idaho more than half a month ago, all of them killed in their own beds in rapid succession late at night, and police still have no suspect and apparently no leads on any suspects. This is, quite honestly, insane. It makes no sense from the standpoint of modern police work or criminology or forensic science. Something weird and unprecedented has happened here. And then there’s this:
Authorities towed away five vehicles from the house where four University of Idaho students were brutally murdered as investigators continue to search for clues on who killed the students.
A tow truck removed the cars — some of which are believed to have belonged to the victims — one by one Tuesday and brought them to a city-owned lot, where they’ll be processed for any evidence.
“Today, as part of the ongoing homicide investigation and original search warrant, there will be an increase in detective activity and tow trucks onsite as investigators move five vehicles from within the police perimeter to a more secure long-term storage location to continue processing evidence,” the Moscow Police Department said in a statement.
What? What? Are you kidding me? It’s been over two weeks and they just left the cars of the four victims out in the wind and rain and snow? They’re only just towing them to a police lot? Is this a joke?
Something very, very strange is happening here. It’s already incredibly strange that this is still an actively ongoing open-ended investigation over two weeks after a mass murder. The police failing to secure critical evidence while begging the public for help is more bizarre still. Four dead students, 17 days, no suspect, no sightings, no known motive, no identified weapon, sloppy procedure, unsecured evidence, no clarity at all relative to what we knew nearly three weeks ago now—three weeks!
To my memory the only thing even remotely resembling an unsolved crime of this magnitude is the 2002 D.C. sniper attacks, where police still had no clear suspect even after a dozen shootings. But, if you’ll forgive the grim analysis, long-range sniping is in many ways a more easy crime to pull off than a brutal quadruple-stabbing. A sniper rifle allows fewer opportunities for forensic contamination and eyewitness makes and collateral damage and lost or discarded weapons. Close-range criminality almost always means a higher likelihood of identification and capture. Indeed, the big break for cops in the Beltway sniper case came when the idiot criminal-child inadvertently revealed to police his commission of a liquor-store robbery/murder in Alabama; police pulled the prints from that crime, made their man, and within a few days it was over. The great undoing there ended up coming from a face-to-face crime. That’s usually the case.
By all rights that should have been the case in Moscow. You cannot get more terribly face-to-face than what the murderer did here. That we still have nothing is deeply surreal and weird and extremely unsettling. Last week I wrote that the explanation could be as simple as a failure of law enforcement: Maybe everybody involved in the investigation—every cop, every FBI agent, every state trooper, every detective—has just dropped the ball in a comprehensive way here. That seemed like a somewhat remote possibility last week, but watching those cars get towed away this week makes it feel distinctly more likely.
Whatever the explanation, a terrible thing has happened in this case. Either police have potentially let a murdering psychopath get away, or a murdering psychopath has somehow figured out an extremely sophisticated way to evade capture and remain at large. Police need to figure out which one it is very quickly—not another two weeks or even another two days. This thing needs to end now.