With suspect in custody, U of I students hopeful for fresh start

MOSCOW, Idaho — University of Idaho students left Moscow with limited answers and a suspect still at large. Now, they’re returning for the spring semester feeling hopeful for a fresh start, and feeling more secure.

“It shook us for sure,” said U of I senior George Reinhart. “It was hard because a lot of people are so close to the victims and people related to the victims.”

It’s been a grueling couple of months for those on campus, as the murders on King Street sent waves of fear and uncertainty among students.

However, the arrest of Bryan Kohberger has put many students’ minds at ease as they return for another semester.

“I know for me I feel safer, I’m sure a lot of other students are still shook up much like I am myself. But coming back with a person in custody and just the start of a new semester; it’s a great feeling and great to be back around friends and it’ll be a good year for sure,” Reinhart said.

On campus, there’s the feeling of a fresh start and the excitement of a new semester.

“There’s a part of me that contemplated staying home,” Reinhart said. “But this is where I’m happy, this is where my friends are, this is where my support system is and this is where I can support people too.”

Reinhart is one of many who are excited for better days ahead.

“The university is going to have that spirit back that we once had and we’re all excited especially going into the spring semester where it’s warm and sunny,” he said.

Despite a suspect now behind bars, these murders have left a permanent mark on the community, with some students using more caution.

“Something like that happens and it’s like, ‘maybe I shouldn’t walk alone at night anymore.’ Make sure to double check that my door is locked at night,” said Stephanie Kirker, another U of I student.

Ultimately though, many in Moscow maintain that they are a safe community. With the nation’s eyes locked on Moscow, Reinhart had one final message.

“Keep sending those thoughts and prayers because lord knows we need them,” Reinhart said.

READ: U of I students return to campus confident in school security measures

READ: ‘It’s been a heartache in the entire community’: Students prepare for campus return as Moscow murders investigation continues

READ: ‘I have no ill will towards you’: Father of U of I murder victim addresses Bryan Kohberger’s parents in interview