Eight hours before police were called to the scene of a quadruple murder in Moscow, Idaho, one resident of the rented house had a terrifying encounter with a stranger, but never called authorities.
The gap “has been something that we have puzzled over — we don’t know if it was an issue of intoxication, or of fear,” a law enforcement official told the New York Post.
The encounter came to light in an affidavit released on Thursday by authorities who have charged Bryan Kohberger with the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.
According to the New York Post, the affidavit, which refers to her by her initials, said that Dylan Mortensen “saw a figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose walking towards her.”
Mortensen “described the figure as 5′ 10″ or taller, male, not very muscular, but athletically built with bushy eyebrows. The male walked past [her] as she stood in a ‘frozen shock phase,” the document said
“The male walked towards the back sliding glass door,” the affidavit said, adding that Mortensen “locked herself in her room after seeing the male.”
According to the affidavit, at around 4 a.m. on the day of the killings, which is around the window when police have said the four students were murdered, Mortensen, “heard who she thought was Goncalves say something to the effect of ‘there’s someone here.’”
At first, Mortensen opened the door to her room, saw nothing and closed it. She opened the door again “when she heard what she thought was crying coming from Kernodle’s room,” according to the police report.
Mortensen “then said she heard a male voice say something to the effect of ‘It’s OK, I’m going to help you.’”
The police source said investigators “are really, really confident about it not being an issue of [Mortensen] being involved.”
“We look at these things through the lens of rational adults — and when we do that, sometimes things don’t make sense to us — but she’s a 20-year-old girl, and we don’t know what she was doing or if she was scared,” he said.
One expert said the delay might have impacted the hunt for a suspect but would probably not have changed the outcome of the stabbings.
“The four were dead when the guy left, and they weren’t crying for help. They weren’t moving or trying to get out. They weren’t in a condition where an ambulance could save their life, on the basis of what we know now,” said Dr. Michael Baden, former chief medical examiner of New York City.
“People are concerned about [the delay in calling for help], but it isn’t a concern from a forensic point of view. Nothing was interfered with by that delay,” Baden said
Shanon Gray, an attorney who represents the Goncalves family, said Mortensen likely did nothing at the time because she was “scared to death,” according to Fox News.
“And the fact that she was able to give some additional identification I think it beneficial in this case. She was able to give kind of type and build and what [the suspect] looked like a little bit — bushy eyebrows, things along those lines,” he said.
The law enforcement source quoted by the Post said connections between the suspect and victims remain elusive.
“There’s no rhyme or reason to it — there are no ties between them. Nobody has said ‘we’ve found the link’ — and that would include Dylan,” the source said.
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