A professional cleaning team hired to sanitize the scene of the brutal murder of four University of Idaho students was turned away from entering Friday, as news broke that a suspect was arrested in the case.
Cleaning professionals from Disaster Response arrived at 1122 King Road in Moscow, Idaho, and barely unloaded their equipment before packing up to leave.
Shortly before their arrival on Friday, law enforcement sources confirmed that Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was taken into custody in Scranton, Pennsylvania around 3 a.m.
Kohberger’s shocking arrest– which Moscow police are set to address at a press conference Friday afternoon– comes nearly seven weeks after Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found stabbed to death in the off-campus residence on Nov. 13.
Moscow Police Chief James Fry had previously announced plans for the cleanup at the crime scene on Thursday.
Reports about the aftermath of the grisly crime had previously made headlines, alongside photos of blood oozing down the exterior foundation of the three-story home. One of the investigators who first responded to the quadruple stabbing described the scene as the “worst they’ve ever seen.”
Anthony Whitmarsh — a cleaning expert who is not involved in the Moscow case, but has consulted on various high-profile mass shootings and murder-suicides throughout the US — described the challenges of handling such a scene.
“The problem with all bodily fluids, in general, is that all bodily fluids have some acidity to them. So whether it’s a sealed floor, if it’s sitting there long enough, it will eat through that floor. It goes through grout, tile, laminate and will erode the finish and go through beams,” Anthony Whitmarsh, founder of the Chicago-based 360 Hazardous Remediation Service, told The Post.
Referring to the infamous photos of the blood leaking down the outside walls of the Moscow house, Whitmarsh clarified that there are several possible explanations for how the damage traveled from the upstairs floors.
“Understanding how properties are constructed is also one of the things that allows us to be proficient in our job,” he explained.
“So if blood was found down there [on the foundation] and they were sleeping up there [on the second and third floors], more than likely, it [the bodily fluids] ran on the outside wall or plywood behind vinyl sheeting. It could’ve dripped down and ran. There also could be a wire in there, like a cable or electrical conduit, and that’s a perfect pathway for blood to follow.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, the cost to clean a particularly gruesome crime scene does not come cheap. “I’ve seen situations go up to $30,000 to $40,000 range based on the damages that’s applicable,” Whitmarsh said.
Speaking to The Post on Thursday, Moscow Police Capt. Anthony Dahlinger confirmed it was unclear how long the cleanup process would take.
“The remediation is necessary to ensure the property is cleaned and safe for return to the property owner/property management company,” he said.
Merida McClanahan, the supervisor of property management services, told The Post that the unidentified property owner had yet to decide if the home would be torn down or left standing.
News of Kohberger’s arrest on Friday broke as family and friends of Goncalves and Mogen prepared to memorialize the longtime best friends at a celebration of life on Friday afternoon.
According to a Facebook post shared by one Goncalves’ relatives earlier this month, the service is scheduled for 3 p.m. local time at Lake City Church in Coeur d’Alene, about one hour and thirty minutes from Moscow.
Goncalves and Mogen reportedly met in the sixth grade, and “shared everything.”
“And in the end, they died together, in the same room, in the same bed. And it’s a shame, and it hurts,” Goncalves’ father Steve lamented earlier this month.
Speaking exclusively to The Post on Friday, Goncalves’ grandmother said the family was “relieved” by Kohberger’s arrest.
“Now we want justice,” she said.