Would-be internet sleuths fill social media with theories and misinformation University of Idaho student murders.
Police and prosecutors are required to remain silent outside the courtroom regarding a homicide case in Idaho, but there is no such prohibition on the Internet.
Most of it on TikTok, Facebook and other places is speculation and hypothesis.
How widespread is internet surveillance? Consider this: this Facebook group “Discussion of the University of Idaho Murder Case” has over a quarter of a million followers, and this is just one of many groups discussing and hypothesizing about the case online.
Prior to Kohberger’s arrest, a user posting under the name “Pappa Rodger” was a prolific contributor on the site — with many creepy and insensitive posts — and it turned out to be incorrect speculation, such as “the white Elantra is a red herring.” However, he also stated, ” from the evidence provided, the murder weapon was consistent with a fixed blade knife. That leads me to believe they found a sheath.”
The fact that he got the details of the scabbard right, despite getting so many things wrong, is one of several reasons why many on social media believe “Pappa Rodger” was Kohberger.
There is no indication that Facebook or police believe the “Pappa Rodger” account, which is no longer in the group, is Kohberger.
Then there’s the video taken at a prayer vigil in Idaho for the four homicide victims before Kohberger’s arrest, with many on the Internet assuming the suspect attended the vigil.
But a TV crew from the newspaper magazine “Inside Edition” was on patrol and has videotape of the man up close. It’s definitely not Kohberger, and the man’s face in the video has been blurred to protect his identity.
And then there’s a woman on TikTok who calls herself “Ashley Solves Mysteries” who has posted a bunch of videos accusing a University of Idaho professor of being involved in the murders — it doesn’t matter. police said the professor was never a suspect.
The TikTocker, whose real name is Ashley Guillard, posted the video about two weeks before Kohberger’s arrest.
“We need to dig deeper into her personality to understand her beliefs and who she is in order to further understand her motivations for the murders,” Guillard said in one of her videos.
CNN reached out to Guillard, who did not respond.
However, Professor Rebecca Scofield responded. Her attorney sued Guillard for defamation.
“The statements about Professor Scofield are false, plain and simple. Even worse, these false statements create safety issues for the professor and her family. They also add to the trauma experienced by the families of the victims. Professor Scofield has twice sent cease and desist letters to Ms. Guillard , but Ms. Guillard continued to make false statements because she knew they were false. This lawsuit has become necessary to protect Professor Scofield’s safety and her reputation,” said her attorney, Wendy Olson.