Link to victim revealed in Idaho murders, suspect persistently pursued one of the girls and was ignored

The alleged killer of four University of Idaho students may have attempted to contact at least one of the victims “again and again” weeks before the murders.

“He was definitely persistent.”

More than two months since Xana Kernodle, Maddie Mogen, Ethan Chapin and Kaylee Goncalves were brutally murdered, details continue to emerge as part of the ongoing investigation. That includes a deeper look at the 28-year-old Washington State University Ph.D. candidate who was arrested on December 30 and remains the primary suspect.

One investigator familiar with the case spoke to People magazine and reported that in late October, only a couple weeks before the Nov. 13 tragedy, an account believed to be operated by the suspect had direct messaged one of the female victims on Instagram.

“He slid into one of the girls’ DMs several times but she didn’t respond,” the source told the outlet. “Basically, it was just him saying, ‘Hey, how are you?’ But he did it again and again.”

Other reports have indicated that the suspect may have been stalking the victims in the weeks leading up to their murders as cellphone data revealed his device pinging in the same location as theirs prior to Nov. 13.

The alleged killer’s behavior following the tragedy was reported as markedly suspicious as well and Fox Nation host Nancy Grace recently spoke with one of the suspect’s neighbors who recounted being asked if he’d heard about the murders.

“He actually says, ‘Have you heard about the murders?'” Grace asked the unidentified neighbor who replied, “Yeah.”

“He’s like, ‘Yeah, it seems like they don’t have any leads.'” the neighbor went on to describe the “normal conversation.”

As to the Instagram messages sent from the removed account that was said to be following Goncalves, Kernodle and Mogen, no replies were ever issued and authorities suggested the victim might not even have known about them.

“She may not have seen them, because they went into message requests,” the source told People as users do not receive a notification if they are messaged from accounts they do not follow back. Those messages get sent into a separate folder and the investigator noted, “We’re still trying to determine how aware the victims were of his existence.”

Despite no responses issued and the suspect’s repeated efforts, the source added to the outlet, “There’s no indication that he was getting frustrated with her lack of response, but he was definitely persistent.”

As previously reported, the suspect is not due back in court until June 26 as he waived his right to a speedy preliminary hearing during his last appearance before Latah County Court Judge Megan Marshall. At that time, the suspect’s public defender, Ann Taylor, submitted a discovery request that, in addition to 17 other points, raised concerns over a possible accomplice as it sought, “Any written or recorded statements by a co-defendant, and the substance of any relevant oral statement made by a co-defendant whether before or after arrest in response to interrogation by any person known by the co-defendant to be a peace officer or agent of the prosecuting attorney, or which are otherwise relevant to the offense charged.”

The suspect faces four counts of first-degree murder and one felony burglary charge.

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Kevin Haggerty

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