Students return to campuses after grisly Idaho murders, armed with maces and flashlights

Share

MOSCOW, Idaho — Some University of Idaho students will be carrying maces and heavy flashlights as they return to campus this week for a new semester, less than two weeks after a suspect was arrested in the murders of four fellow students.

As they unpacked bags and boxes over the weekend, students from the University of Idaho and Washington State University in nearby Pullman, where the suspect had enrolled, expressed relief and caution at the arrest following a six-week search. .

Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested Dec. 30 and charged with four counts of murder in the Nov. 13 stabbing deaths of Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Ariz.; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho.

At the University of Idaho, where classes begin Wednesday, senior Lucy Selph was moving into her on-campus residence, less than 10 minutes from the off-campus home where the victims were stabbed to death with what investigators believe was a large fixed pistol. blade knife

Lucy Selph, a senior at the University of Idaho, with her mother, Heather, in Moscow.Alicia Victoria Lozano/NBC News

Among his must-have accessories this semester is a heavy-duty flashlight with a strobe function that doubles as a baton. It’s one of several security items distrustful students said they would take.

«I’m already a pretty cautious person, so I think this will only reinforce my antisocial behavior,» he said jokingly.

Selph, who describes herself as a loner, said that despite the arrest, she will likely take extra precautions during her last semester of college, including always having her flashlight nearby when it’s dark.

Selph’s mother, Heather, said she was looking forward to sending her daughter back to campus, even with a suspect in jail.

“Oh my gosh, that’s all I can say,” Heather Selph said as tears filled her eyes. “Kids just shouldn’t be afraid to go to school.

“I am a teacher and with everything that is on the news…schools should be a safe place.”

University of Idaho sophomore Michaela Green, who recently transferred from Boise State University, said she intends to take a self-defense class offered by the school later this week.

Green’s mother, Jennifer, said she feels better knowing her daughter will learn to protect herself should the unthinkable happen.

Jennifer Green with her daughter Michaela, a sophomore transfer student at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.
Jennifer Green with her daughter Michaela, a sophomore transfer student at the University of Idaho in Moscow.Alicia Victoria Lozano/NBC News

«I didn’t want to necessarily talk her out of transferring, but I was hoping they would catch him,» Jennifer Green said. “They have done so much for school safety, now I feel 100% fine. I’m excited for her to start the semester.»

At the time of the murders, Kohberger had been working toward his doctorate in criminal justice and criminology at WSU in Pullman, just across the state line from Moscow.

At WSU, where classes began Monday, freshman Brandon Moore said he plans to adjust his habits on campus, including walking with friends at night and always locking the door.

«It’s still a little scary even knowing that they got the guy,» he said.

Brandon Moore, a freshman at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.
Brandon Moore, a freshman at Washington State University in Pullman.Alicia Lozano/NBC News

Koryn Damiano, a sophomore at WSU who took classes in the same building as Kohberger, said she was «scared» after learning she might have inadvertently walked past him.

“It’s terrifying to know that someone our age on our campus is capable of doing something like that,” he said. “It definitely makes you more aware of everyone around you.”

Koryn Damiano, a sophomore at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.
Koryn Damiano, a sophomore at Washington State University in Pullman.Alicia Victoria Lozano/NBC News

Damiano said he shares a sense of relief that the suspect has been caught.

“We are all excited to be back and feel better knowing that he is in lockdown,” he said.

WSU freshman Brynn Nygaard walked briskly to her dorm room Saturday afternoon, wearing just one earphone, a new habit that allows her to listen to music while maintaining situational awareness.

«It’s important as a young woman in any setting,» she said. «I also have a mace and I’m just being very cautious and alert.»

Brynn Nygaard, a freshman transfer student at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.
Brynn Nygaard, a freshman transfer student at Washington State University in Pullman.Alicia Victoria Lozano/NBC News

Nygaard said that while she feels relatively safe going back to campus, her mother needed some convincing. «I tried to comfort her,» she said.

«Those kids were my age,» he added. «Seeing someone lose their child in such a tragic and horrible way probably affected» my mother, she said, «so I just wanted to let her know that the police were doing their best work to resolve this and find the person who did it. «. «

Officials at both campuses have tried to allay student and parent fears that a new term is approaching by beefing up campus patrols and working more closely with state and local law enforcement agencies, among other measures.

At the University of Idaho, students will have the option of taking self-defense, policing, and stalking awareness classes. Although the school allowed students to finish last semester remotely after the murders, remote learning will be limited this semester as most students are expected to return to campus, the idaho statesman informed.

Personnel have been added to the school’s security team and local police will increase patrols on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods, school officials said.

«While we can’t bring back Maddie, Kaylee, Xana and Ethan, we can carry on their legacy thoughtfully and purposefully in the work we do,» University of Idaho President Scott Green said in a statement. declaration December 30.

«The next few months will be difficult for their friends and family as the legal system begins the process of publicly prosecuting these crimes to bring justice. Let’s keep them in our thoughts and prayers and stand strong against vandalism.»

Riyan Shresdha, a freshman at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.
Riyan Shrestha, a freshman at the University of Idaho in Moscow.Alicia Victoria Lozano/NBC News

University of Idaho freshman Riyan Shrestha, from Nepal, said his parents were worried about letting him travel so far from home amid a murder investigation.

They chose the University of Idaho because it seemed to be in a safe community, away from crowded cities and close to mountains that reminded them of home. With a suspect charged, his sense of anxiety has given way to excitement about his new life in the United States.

“Honestly, I’m more worried about feeling homesick,” she said.

You may also like...