Idaho cops have sparked fears the murderer who killed four college students could strike again as they warned youngsters attending commencement to stay in groups.
Moscow Police told visitors to the city to keep in touch with their friends and family and stay vigilant during the celebration on Saturday.
The commencement ceremony marks an ‘important weekend’ for the city and will see a large influx of visitors coming into Moscow from out of town.
But Police Chief James Fry offered some reassurance that his department is deploying more officers to the streets and university for the event.
Moscow Police Chief James Fry (pictured) said that there will be plenty of police around during the busy commencement weekend
‘With commencement this weekend, there will be an influx of people coming in from out of town. Moscow Police Department and Idaho State Police will provide coverage on campus and in the Moscow area,’ police said in a statement.
‘As always, we want to remind the public to stay vigilant, travel in groups, and communicate with family and friends as you travel.’
Moscow police said on Saturday morning that they had more than ten investigators looking into the murders and that nearly 50 FBI agents are working to crack the case, including a number in Moscow itself.
We’re working steady on the investigation still,’ said Fry. ‘We’re still pushing forward.’
Leonard’s arrest comes on the heels of the unsolved murders of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, which happened in November
The warning comes as the Moscow Police Department, who have yet to make much headway in the investigation, have said they will now crack down on internet sleuths.
As last month’s stabbings captured the nation’s attention, sleuths on the internet began posting popular theories about the murders to fill the void from the Idaho police, who have been criticized for sharing little and repeatedly contradicting themselves.
On Friday Fry condemned the amount of speculation and rumors surrounding the case, saying police have the sole authority to release the facts of the case.
‘We want people to pay attention to what we’re putting out there because that is accurate information, and anything that comes from other sources is either rumor or speculation,’ he said.
Moscow Police Department, who have yet to make much headway in the investigation, have said they will now crack down on internet sleuths speculating as to who killed the four students (pictured)
Kaylee and Madison were found on the top floor of the Moscow, Idaho home. Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were found in a second-floor bedroom while survivors Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke were sleeping on the first floor
Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were all students at the University of Idaho. They were brutally attacked between 3am and 4am — and four weeks on, the killer has yet to be caught.
The fact that little remains to be known about the case has led to a flurry of theories surrounding the case, with Facebook and Reddit groups spearheading now-debunked and plausible ideas about the case.
While rumors spread, frustrations grew over the police department, which has provided little information to crush the theories and misinformation.
Early on in the investigation, both Moscow Police Chief Fry and Latah County prosecutor Bill Thompson assured the public that the victims were targeted by the killer.
But then the police recanted their statements, saying they were not sure if the slain University of Idaho students were actually targeted.
Police have been inundated with tips related to their search for a 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra sedan that was spotted near the off-campus house where four students were killed on Nov 13
A recent development, reiterated by police on Saturday, related to a Hyundai sedan that was ‘in the immediate area’ of the off-campus house where the students were stabbed at the time.
It came just days after the Moscow Police Department scaled back their probe and removed a quarter of the officers assigned to the case, while insisting it was still the lead agency.
Due to the amount of tips coming in, calls are now being directed to the FBI center to help process the information, according to the latest police update.
The department insists it is still the lead agency after it received $1million from the state to expand the manhunt — which now enters its fourth consecutive week without any suspects.