MOSCOW, IDAHO: The families of Idaho murder victims are raising reward money while the investigation is ongoing which is a “bad plan,” according to a veteran FBI agent. While the tips keep coming in, former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer has stressed that issuing a reward for the killer would be a “bad plan at this time.”
If a reward is granted, a flood of useless tips will come in at an exponential rate, significantly slowing down the investigation process. A reward should be given when or if the tips stop coming in which is something the FBI is aware of. “Let them do their work,” Coffindaffer tweeted in response to a recent post about one of the victims’ moms discussing reward money. Coffindaffer’s remarks came shortly after Kaylee Gonclaves’ mother, Kristi, discussed the possibility of raising reward money in an interview with Fox News. “Our family would like to fundraise in hopes to offer a reward, and possibly hire a private investigator if that becomes necessary,” she said. “The money raised will go directly to getting us answers as well as helping to pay for Kaylee’s final arrangements and her celebration of life on Dec. 30.” Four University of Idaho students—Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin, and Xana Kernodle—were discovered dead from stab wounds on November 13. They lived off-campus close to the university.
In an interview with Newsweek, Coffindaffer went into further detail about why she thinks it’s a poor idea for the family to seek money for a reward and mentioned that the police already get hundreds of tips every day. “When you put a reward out for information, it incites people who know nothing about the case, who aren’t really that involved but maybe are interested in possibly gleaning the money,” she told Newsweek. “The reason that this is not the time is right now in the case, at this four- to six-week juncture, is really when all the evidence is starting to pour in. From subpoenas, from court-ordered information…text messages, all of this information is really starting to come in,” Coffindaffer said.
The case is currently at its “height” in Coffindaffer’s words which means that police have the most available evidence, detectives have interviewed suspects and authorities are searching for the occupants of a 2011–2013 white Hyundai Elantra. Coffindaffer also mentioned that the FBI might offer their own reward, possibly worth up to $100,000 if the investigation drags on for months with no suspects or fresh leads. Nevertheless, Coffindaffer told Newsweek, “this is the last point that you want to be inundated with more tips that oftentimes, are not fruitful, but instigated by the money sign.” Police have been unable in locating a suspect or person of interest as of Wednesday, December 14.
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