The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Idaho Breakthrough: A Serial Killer?

Posted on | November 26, 2022 | 2 Comments

My brother Kirby has been following the unsolved murder of the four university students in Idaho, and a few days ago, he said to me, “This is a maniac. This is one sick m****rf***er, somebody who’s obsessed with horror movies, like Friday the 13th.” Almost from the beginning, when this case first started making national headlines, Kirby has believed that this was not the perpetrator’s first murder.

Why should you pay attention to my brother’s hunches? Because he’s got an uncanny record of accuracy about such things. Do you remember the 2002 D.C. sniper case? Kirby solved that before the FBI did.

After it was made public that “profilers” believed the sniper was a white male, Kirby called me when I was working at The Washington Times to tell me the profilers were wrong: “Stacy, it’s got to be a black guy.” His explanation was that some of the shootings were in predominantly black neighborhoods. How could a white guy be going in and out of neighborhoods like that without attracting attention? I passed this idea along to my coworkers, who scoffed that “Stacy’s truck driver brother” knew more about the case than the geniuses at FBI headquarters, but of course, Kirby was right. So, yeah, pay attention.

Four young people stabbed to death in their sleep near the campus of the University of Idaho — everything about it is mysterious. Four days after the killings, the local police chief said the FBI had joined the case and “currently we have 25-plus investigators working this case.” That number has since grown, and by last Sunday, “more than 100 investigators, officers and support staff” were working to process the tips that were being received at a special phone number set up for that purpose.

Why is the FBI so interested in this case? Kirby points out that if, as some have suggested, the murderer was a disgruntled ex-boyfriend of one of the slain girls, such a merely local crime would not attract this much FBI involvement. What do we know about the killings? Six people were in the residence at the time of the murders, sometime after 3 a.m. on Nov. 13, and the four victims were on the second and third floors. Police say there was no sign of forced entry. So somebody managed to get into this house in the pre-dawn hours of a Sunday morning without waking anyone, stab four people to death and leave behind two others, apparently in the basement, who slept through the whole thing.

Nearly two weeks later, police still haven’t identified a suspect, so it seems that this knife-wielding killer must have been very careful in his plan to commit this crime and get away with it. This doesn’t seem to be some sudden act of impulsive rage, but rather an act that was methodically planned. And then we come back to Kirby’s belief that this quadruple homicide wasn’t the killer’s first crime:

The grieving mother of a 26-year-old man murdered in Oregon last year says she has been given “hope” that the case will finally be solved after police revealed they are exploring a potential link to the murders of four University of Idaho students in Moscow.
Myra Juetten told The Independent on Thursday that finding out who killed her son Travis Juetten in a brutal stabbing attack in his home in Silverton, Oregon – and also catching the killer of the slain students in Idaho – would be “the best Christmas present ever”.
“I want answers for all five of them,” she said of the victims.
“If law enforcement can work together and solve both cases that would be the best Christmas present ever.”
Back on 13 August 2021, Travis, 26, and his wife Jamilyn Juetten, 24, were woken at around 3am when a masked assailant broke into their home, entered their bedroom and stabbed them both multiple times with a knife.
Travis tried to fight off the attacker but was stabbed to death. Ms Juetten was stabbed 19 times but miraculously survived, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.
Despite Travis’ family putting up a $50,000 reward for information leading to the killer, 15 months on, the case remains unsolved.
This week, similarities were drawn between the knife attack on the young couple and the 13 November stabbing murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, 400 miles away in Moscow.

Wait just a minute here — what day of the week was Aug. 13, 2021? It was a Friday. Just a coincidence, perhaps, but then you see that the Idaho victims were also killed on the 13th, and while it may be a bit of a stretch to connect these crimes, which happened 400 miles and 15 months apart, investigators don’t seem to have any other leads, so maybe this is more than a coincidence. Because one of the Oregon victims survived the attack, we know that the killer wore a mask, but they don’t say what kind of mask. Was it a hockey mask? Like Jason in Friday the 13th?

Could there be a third murder connected to this case?

As investigators skipped Thanksgiving celebrations to continue their search for a suspect in the unsolved slaying of four University of Idaho students, a third unsolved stabbing in the Pacific Northwest has resurfaced with eerie similarities. . . .
[Thursday] morning, the Idaho Tribune reported that a third nearby attack shared similar characteristics.
Sandra Ladd, 71, was found dead in her home in Washougal, Washington, on June 14, 2020, according to Oregon Crime Stoppers. Her death was ruled a homicide after the medical examiner found multiple stab wounds in her torso, Washougal police said at the time.
The two attacks [on Ladd and the Juettens] happened 14 months apart but within 70 miles of one another. The locations are roughly a five-hour drive west of Moscow, Idaho.
University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were stabbed to death in their sleep on Nov. 13, 2022 between 3 and 4 a.m. in a rental house just off campus, according to police.
Like the attack on the Juettens, the incident happened between 3 and 4 a.m. on the 13th of the month.

Map showing location of three crimes.

Had anyone previously connected Ladd’s murder in Washington State to the Juetten case in Oregon? Probably not, but then these four students were killed in Idaho, 400 miles away, and suddenly the coincidence — knife-wielding attacker, early-morning hours, 13th of the month — was maybe not so coincidental. And if indeed these crimes are connected, isn’t it apparent that the killer is very methodical in his planning? He first struck in Washington State, then moved across state lines to Oregon, which would reduce the likelihood of investigators making a connection between the two crimes, and then struck 400 miles away in Idaho. If he is deliberately choosing the 13th as the date of his attacks, then he must have spent some days or weeks ahead of time, scouting out his intended victims. All of this, of course, is contingent on the “if” factor; we don’t actually know that these crimes are all connected.

Notice that all three of these crimes occurred after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020. Did the killer find himself stuck at home — school canceled, or workplace shut down — and start binge-watching horror movies and serial-killer documentaries? Three or four months into his forced isolation, he decides to emulate one of his “heroes” by stabbing an old lady to death. He gets away with it, and more than a year later, decides it’s time to do it again. Gets away with that one, another year goes by, and he relocates to Idaho — new job? new school? — where he strikes again. All of these crimes happen on the 13th of the month, and if they are actually connected, the choice of a specific date (combined with the fact that the killer keeps getting away with it) suggests an intelligent perpetrator, capable of planning and organizing.

Of course, this is all just speculation. Unless and until the police apprehend a suspect, we don’t actually know that the Idaho murders are connected to these other cases. However, I cannot help but remark that these developments in the investigation tend to confirm Kirby’s hunch.

They didn’t send all those FBI agents out there for no reason, y’know.