Police in the small town of Moscow said they do not believe the history professor, who is suing the web sleuth for defamation, was involved in the bloody crime. However, the TikTok creator has stood by her bold claim despite facing a defamation lawsuit.
Moscow Police Department issued a press release on Tuesday acknowledging investigators’ belief that the professor was not involved in the murder of the four students.
“At this time in the investigation, detectives do not believe the female associate professor and chair of the history department at the University of Idaho suing a TikTok user for defamation is involved in this crime,” the press release stated.
Officers also confirmed the teacher was in Oregan at the time of the slayings, which happened in the student’s off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho.
Roommates Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, were stabbed to death in their beds at around 3am on November 13, after returning home from a night out.
The web sleuth, who goes by the name Ashley Solves Mysteries on TikTok, has made several videos calling the professor a “killer” and claiming she teamed up with one of the victims’ ex-partners to carry out the grisly murders.
The professor has since sued the woman for defamation, with her lawyer, Wendy J. Olson, calling the claims “false, plain and simple”.
She said her client sent the TikTok creator two cease-and-desist letters, but she “has continued to make false statements, knowing they are false”.
Ms Olson said the lawsuit is necessary to protect the professor’s safety and her reputation, adding that the untrue statements further compound the trauma already felt by the victims’ families.
READ MORE: Idaho university offers self-defence classes following brutal killings
But the true crime sleuth is standing by her claim that the professor was involved in the death of the four students despite the defamation case launched against her.
Ashley, who has changed her TikTok profile picture to an image of herself side-by-side next to the professor, has responded to the lawsuit in recent videos.
In one video, the web sleuth, who has over 110.8thousand followers, said: “I am not stopping”.
She posted another TikTok video where she referred to the court case, claiming she has “physical evidence” against the professor, which “validates” everything she has said about her.
In earlier videos, the self-proclaimed mystery solver frequently refers to the teacher as a “killer”.
Ashley had also previously pointed the finger at Kaylee Goncalves’s ex-boyfriend, Jack DuCoeur, claiming he “knows he’s about to be arrested”, despite police clearing him as a suspect early on in their investigation.
She had previously said Mr DuCoeur would be arrested on December 23, but was forced to backtrack on her claims in a video she posted on Christmas Day.
Kaylee Goncalves’ family, early in the investigation, said they “stand behind Jack 100 percent” and don’t believe he was involved in their daughter’s murders.
Moscow Police Department also previously warned that rumours and speculation being spread online by a growing army of amateur sleuths are hindering efforts to solve the mysterious crime.