Police in Moscow, Idaho, said they do not believe a University of Idaho professor is involved in the brutal stabbings of four students in November after the professor sued a TikTok creator for posting accusations against her.
The Moscow Police Department cleared the professor as a suspect in the crime, according to a Dec. 27 press release, as they continue to investigate the still-unsolved killings.
“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,” police said.
Rebecca Scofield, whoUniversity of Idaho history department chair, filed a lawsuit last week alleging TikTok user Ashley Guillard made defamatory statements when she posted videos falsely claiming Scofield had planned the killings of the four students.
Guillard’s videos first appeared on Nov. 24 on her account Ashley Solves Mysteries and now have millions of views, according to the lawsuit, which says Guillard claims to solve cases using Tarot cards and other readings.
“Professor Scofield has never met Guillard,” the lawsuit stated. “She does not know her. She does not know why Guillard picked her to repeatedly falsely accuse of ordering the tragic murders and being involved with one of the victims. Professor Scofield does know that she has been harmed by the false TikToks and false statements.”
The lawsuit alleged Scofield fears that Guillard’s false statements may cause harm to her family, and added Scofield recently installed a security system in her home.
“The statements made about Professor Scofield are false, plain and simple. What’s even worse is that these untrue statements create safety issues for the Professor and her family,” Wendy Olson, an attorney representing Scofield, told NBC News last week. “They also further compound the trauma that the families of the victims are experiencing and undermine law enforcement efforts to find the people responsible in order to provide answers to the families and the public.”
Guillard has responded to the lawsuit on TikTok, saying “I’m not stopping,” and repeated her allegations against Scofield in an email to NBC News.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News, and Moscow Police said in the press release it would not comment on the “ongoing civil process.”
Authorities have not named a suspect in the killings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, more than six weeks after they were found dead. Investigators also have not found a weapon in the crime.
Investigators believe the victims were sleeping when they were attacked in the early morning hours of Nov. 13. Each victim had multiple stab wounds, and some had defensive wounds, police have said.
Two additional roommates who were home at the time of the killings were not injured. A 911 call reporting an unconscious person came just before noon on Nov. 13 from the cell phone of one of the surviving roommates, according to police.
Police have been working to locate a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra that was in the “immediate area” of the victims’ residence at the time of the slayings. Investigators believe the occupant or occupants of the vehicle may have “critical information” to share regarding the case, according to police.
Police are urging the public to continue submitting leads and footage from the night of the killings as they leaf through more than 10,000 tips. “Whether you believe it is significant or not, your information might be one of the puzzle pieces that help solve these murders,” police have said.