Pathologist slams coroner’s dismissal of toxicology findings in Idaho slayings: ‘Could learn a great deal’

The coroner assigned to the horrific murder of four University of Idaho students last month is under fire from a respected physician and board-certified pathologist for dismissing the findings of toxicology tests as irrelevant to the still-unsolved case.

“From the toxicology, you could learn a great deal about where the decedents were during the hours before their death, what, if any, drugs they were taking, their state of mind,” Dr. Michael Baden told Fox News Digital. “Did they take drugs that could have caused them to sleep and not wake during the encounter?”

Prior to receiving the results, Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt stated in an exclusive interview with the outlet last week that the toxicology reports “can be related to cause or manner of death, but they are not in this case.”

Mabbutt, who is not a medical doctor — she’s a practicing attorney and former nurse — was elected as coroner in 2006.

“Her main role is to determine the cause and manner of death based on autopsy reports issued by a pathologist with the Spokane Medical Examiner’s Office,” Fox News Digital explains.

While the toxicology findings may have nothing to do with how the stabbed students were killed, Baden argues they may provide other valuable insights.

“These days there are literally hundreds of drugs looked for in toxicology that are new and different because of all the fentanyl and methamphetamine-like drugs coming from different sources,” he said. “Certain drugs are used in Washington versus Idaho, and this could offer clues about where they were or who they were with before they died.”

The examination of urine, blood, and stomach contents might reveal evidence that otherwise would go unknown.

“Maybe one of the victims had their food spiked,” Baden speculated. “This would be a significant piece of evidence.”

Retired Los Angeles Police Det. Mark Fuhrman agrees with Mabbutt, but wishes she’d “stop talking,” blasting her for sharing details of the autopsies with the families of the victims.

“They were attacked with a knife, and they basically bled to death. Toxicology wouldn’t affect that no matter what they ingested,” Fuhrman said of the students. “I’d put my money on there being alcohol in all four victims’ systems. … What conclusions can you draw from that?”

As for Mabbutt, Fuhrman said, “She should stop talking.”

“She has never done an autopsy,” he continued. “She doesn’t understand the value of the autopsy information to police. She should not have talked to anybody about the injuries of any of the victims.”

As BizPac Review reported, Steven Goncalves, father of victim Kaylee Goncalves, was given the grisly details of his daughter’s wounds by Mabbutt.

 

“She says, sir, I don’t think stabs is the right word, it was like tears, like this was a strong weapon, not like a stab,” Goncalves said.

“She said these were big open gouges,” he continued. “She said it was quick.”

“These weren’t something where you were going to be able to call 911,” he stated. “They were not going to slowly bleed out.”

More than a month after Kaylee, 21; her best friend, Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and her boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20, were found dead in their home, Moscow Police have yet to name a suspect.

Mabbutt released autopsy results which detailed the students’ multiple stab wounds — details she shared not only with Fuhrman, but also with Goncalves’ underage daughter.

“It seems likely that maybe they were sleeping,” Mabbutt said in an interview with NewsNation, adding, “It has to be somebody pretty angry in order to stab four people to death.”

 

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