‘A horrible tragedy’: Attorney of victim’s family asks police for accountability in murder investigation

MOSCOW, ID. — Tuesday marks one month since Kaylee Goncalves, Maddie Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were killed near the University of Idaho campus. The community is looking for answers on the crime, searching for justice in what was a terrible tragedy.

Shanon Gray, an attorney for the Goncalves family, is one of those people searching for those answers. He was hired a week ago, and with police releasing limited information on the investigation, Gray says he is focusing on holding police accountable.

As frustrations grow, so does the intensity to find a killer and bring justice to victims.

“This is a horrible tragedy,” Gray said.

Gray has had a criminal defense practice for over 15 years and has also been a prosecutor. Gray and the Goncalves family met with investigators on Monday, saying police put out a lot of conflicting information. Gray added that police are keeping everything close to themselves, and in doing so, families aren’t getting a lot of answers.

“Consistency feeds to confidence — confidence in the investigation, confidence in what you are doing, confidence in that you are keeping things close to the vest,” Gray said.

“The reason they were giving the statements and trying to do that is they want to keep the investigation alive,” Gray continued. “They’re fearful. There’s not a lot of information they’re getting themselves from law enforcement, so they get desperate. When desperation kicks in, emotion kicks in.”

Those emotions are leading to action, as Monday’s meeting with investigators led to the Goncalves family asking for a new approach.

“We need to change the way you’re communicating with the victims and the victim’s families,” Gray said.

Police say they are already doing that with the use of a family liaison officer.

“While we want to support the families, we hope the families know that us keeping the information safe is us doing the best to honor the victims, get the investigation right, make an arrest, successfully get to court and get justice,” Moscow Police Department Public Information Officer Robbie Johnson said.

The investigation is far from over, but families just want to know what’s going on first instead of learning new details from press releases or being left with more questions than answers.

“Is this piece of evidence true or not? They can either confirm it or deny it or just say don’t pay attention to it,” Johnson said. “What that does is it helps them sleep at night. It helps them move on from that question. If we’re not getting that line of communication, then that needs to change.”

Even with Christmas just weeks away, nothing about this investigation is changing. Police say the time, resources and intensity will continue to bring justice for victims and find who committed this heinous crime.

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