It’s almost impossible to ignore the incredibly tragic crime committed in the early morning hours of November 13th against four University of Idaho students whose lives were brutally taken at an off-campus house.
The crime immediately became public in the media, as many such mysteries tend to do.
However, with today’s social media, especially TikTok, this case has become a showcase for the dangers of speculation by uninvolved individuals.
People seem desperate for more information, spreading rumors and conspiracies based on “vibes” from those involved in the victims’ lives.
Dylan Mortensen, Bethany Funke, Jake Schriger, Jack DuCoeur and Jack Showalter are among a handful of people charged with murdering Mortensen and Funke’s roommates Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, who was not a roommate. but stayed in the house for the night.
It is amazing that this case received international attention, as the victims deserve to be remembered.
But the accusations got out of hand and these people deserve an apology.
Mortensen and Funke’s social media apps tore apart these “TikTok searchers,” who analyzed timestamps on their posts the night before the tragedy, completely disregarding time zones.
Insensitive comments on social media about their possible involvement received far too much support from people who knew next to nothing about that night, even though investigators immediately concluded that they were innocent.
Can you imagine your roommates and best friends being brutally murdered under the same roof as you, having to find their bodies and living with survivor’s guilt, and millions of strangers telling you that you “don’t sit right” with them?
Jack Showalter was apparently a girl friend. There’s footage of him with Goncalves and Mogen the night they ordered from the food truck — which, in the eyes of netizens, might as well have been his confession.
He was so widely speculated on the internet for the few seconds he was seen on footage. As a result, people took a deep dive into this child and his family throughout life.
Another clip of them walking to a food truck has recently surfaced, showing that they had arrived together and he wasn’t just lurking.
I feel like it’s nothing less than a friend tagging along with the girls after a night out. And yet, as he mourned them after being one of the last to see them, complete strangers compounded the tragedy by pointing the finger at him.
The Showalter boy was searched for weeks. The internet tracked down and tore down his family’s social media pages.
Two other falsely accused Internet suspects were Jake Schriger, Mogen’s boyfriend, and Jack DuCoeur, Goncalves’ ex-boyfriend.
DuCoeur was apparently called about six or seven times earlier on the night of the murder, after they had come home from the food truck.
These names were also incredibly slandered all over the internet.
None of these people online put themselves in the shoes of a college student before throwing out names for the world to condemn.
It was a Saturday night after a football game at a huge school party. The victims were confirmed to be out at bars and parties.
Calling an ex or current boyfriend multiple times after a night out is not unusual in college.
The fact that people don’t wake up until after 10 a.m. on Sundays is also not strange in college.
People coming in and out of the ballroom is not unusual in college.
It’s no secret that this case got a lot of publicity with national updates, but the speculation should have been kept private.
I’m a true crime fan like everyone else, but right after seeing the first crazy speculations, I felt sick to my stomach.
It is so ridiculous to potentially ruin the lives of grieving people with “gut feeling” when someone has no idea what is going on in the investigation.
This was not a true crime documentary or podcast. Those involved in the investigation did not intend to reveal any relevant information just for people online to eat.
Not to mention, spreading such rumors can be detrimental to the investigation. It can waste resources, confuse potential jurors, and encourage people to falsely confess.
Also, can you imagine being among the friends and families of the victims and seeing people on the internet using a terrible tragedy as a source of entertainment – a fun mystery for them to solve?
These people did not have the school community in mind. Such a college town is similar to Penn State and State College.
Everyone is connected somehow, and something like this would have shaken our city as well. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine if this happened on your own campus.
Now the suspect, Bryan Kohberger, has been arrested. It seems that he was not connected to the victims in any way as people had thought. Investigators had clearly known for some time that it was Kohberger, someone the internet didn’t suspect, just as they had told the public after collecting statements from these people.
As people in their own little world pointed the finger without caring who it touched, the police gathered evidence and developed their case against Kohberger to get justice for the victims.
The power of attorney has also been made public. It reveals information about how police linked Kohberger to the crime, including an eyewitness account of Mortensen, who saw Kohberger that night and heard things.
According to the affidavit, she had poked her head out of her room several times and then said she saw a man she didn’t know walking beside her while she was frozen in fear.
I don’t know enough about Mortensen’s actions that early morning beyond the statements recorded in the affidavit, so guess what? I’m not going to talk about millions hearing about it.
However, I can easily identify another possibility, and I’ve seen it start to happen already, that the internet destroys this girl for not calling 911 until the next morning, even though there is no evidence that she knew the actual murders were happening.
This is obviously not all the information. It’s so easy to say you’d do something else in that situation, but you have no idea what it’s like.
Let’s all go easy on the girl who is no doubt suffering tremendously right now, especially now that the suspect has actually been caught and is likely to be a key witness who will have to relive the events during the trial.
We can’t let our case information today allow us to attack a girl who had no idea what was going on right now. It’s unlikely that his mind jumped straight to the quadruple murder happening in his house, and even in the slightest possible way, can you imagine how terrified he was?
I want to believe that everyone has the right intentions to “help” in this case and not just build on false rumors to create hype around their theories for their views and likes.
But for the past few weeks, I just can’t wrap my head around how someone speculating is doing so in the interests of the people.
To find this heartbreaking situation, this should be an opportunity for people to learn how insensitive and disgusting their words have been.
Unfortunately, murders will never stop, and social media will only evolve.
As things continue, people need to keep in mind the power of the Internet. This is not a mystery game. This is not for your entertainment.
Kaylee, Maddie, Xana and Ethan looked full of life and they deserve justice. They deserve to rest in peace. Their friends and family deserve to grieve in peace.