Idaho murders: Professor sues TikToker for baselessly linking her to college student killings

A University of Idaho professor has filed a lawsuit against a woman who baselessly linked her to the brutal murders of four students in a TikTok video.

History chair Rebecca Scofield argued in the lawsuit filed last week in Moscow that TikTok user Ashley Guillard accused her of participating in a murder-for-hire plot in the killings of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

Ms Guillard inaccurately claims to have solved high-profile mysterious deaths through tarot reading on the platform, where she has more than 100,000 followers. She has posted several videos linking Prof Scofield romantically with one of the victims and falsely stating that was the motive behind the killings.

The professor’s attorneys argue that none of the victims took any of her classes and she does not recall ever meeting them. On the night of the murders in Moscow on 13 November, Prof Scofield had travelled to Portland, Oregon, with her husband.

When reached by The Independent, Prof Scofield’s attorney Wendy Olson said Ms Guillard’s claims had affected the professor’s reputation and re-victimised loved ones of the slain students.

Before the lawsuit, Prof Scofield’s legal team sent cease and desist letters warning Ms Guillard to stop fueling conspiracies.

University of Idaho professor Rebecca Scofield has sued TikToker Ashley Guillard over allegations Ms Guillard made linking her to the quadruple murders of four University of Idaho students

(University of Idaho )

However, The TikToker continued sharing defamatory videos, boasting she “is the sole reason [Prof Scofield] is going to be looked at as a suspect.”

On 16 December, Ms Guillard posted a TikTok showing her seemingly placing one of the letters in a toilet paper holder and saying she was going to “wipe her [expletive] with it.”

Ms Olson argued in the lawsuit that the TikTok videos posted by Ms Guillard had injured her client’s reputation and caused her ridicule after they were viewed, liked and commented millions of times.

Now, Ms Olson said, the professor also fears that she or her family could become the target of physical violence.

“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,” Ms Olson said about her client in a statement to The Independent.

She added: “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.”

“Professor Scofield twice sent cease and desist letters to Ms Guillard, but Ms Guillard has continued to make false statements, knowing they are false. Thus, this lawsuit became necessary to protect Professor Scofield’s safety and her reputation.”

On Tuesday, Moscow police also addressed the incident. The department had not mentioned the professor before the lawsuit was filed.

“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,” a statement by the department read. “The Moscow Police Department will not provide a statement about the ongoing civil process.”

Moscow police have repeatedly asked the public not to engage in misinformation and speculation running rampant online. The department warned those seeking information in the high-profile investigation to only trust official channels.

Among other victims of conspiracies circulating on the internet are close friends of the victims and individuals seen near them in the hours leading up to their deaths. Each individual so far linked to the murder investigation has now been ruled out as a potential suspect.

Moscow Police have said that the two surviving housemates who were in the home at the time of the killings and the other friends who were in the home when the 911 call was made are not considered suspects.

Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were killed on 13 November

(Instagram)

A man who was seen on camera with Mogen and Goncalves at a food truck in the downtown area before they headed home and the private party who then gave the pair a ride home from the truck have also been ruled out.

Sunday marked the six-week anniversary of the murders.

Investigators are still on the hunt for the occupant or occupants of a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra seen “in the immediate area” of the crime scene in the early hours of 13 November.

Police have identified around 22,000 vehicles that fit the description of the car and are combing through the information for clues.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/idaho-murders-tiktok-rebecca-scofield-b2251664.html