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Idaho police chief stands behind investigation into killings

(NewsNation) — The police chief in Moscow, Idaho, firmly defended his agency’s handling of a homicide investigation following the arrest of a suspect in the fatal stabbings of four University of Idaho students nearly seven weeks after they were killed.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry had come under scrutiny from victims’ families and the public throughout the nearly seven-week investigation that culminated in the arrest of Bryan Christopher Kohberger. Fry announced at a news conference Friday that Kohberger was taken into custody in Pennsylvania and was awaiting extradition.

“I will 100% stand behind the way we handled this investigation,” Fry said. “This all started Day 1 with our patrol officers arriving on scene, locking down the scene, us calling in the Idaho State Police, us calling in the FBI and keeping information that was pertinent to this case very, very tight.”

Police had remained tight-lipped about developments in the case, and didn’t give an initial news conference until days after the Nov. 13 killings. They initially said it was a “targeted attack,” but later told the Moscow community to remain vigilant with the killer at-large.

A slew of people were ruled out as suspects, including the two surviving roommates who were in the house at the time of the killings. The decisions to clear people drew criticism from the family of one of the victims, Kaylee Goncalves.

“I can only trust law enforcement has done their due diligence in all of the people they’ve cleared thus far,” Alivea Goncalves, Kaylee’s sister, told NewsNation last month.

A lawyer hired by the Goncalves family also questioned the leadership of the investigation, previously stating Fry only has two years of experience.

In the news conference Friday, Fry said the decision to keep information close to the chest was intentional and for a purpose.

“We want to have a situation where when this goes to trial, there is no doubt that we’ve done everything right,” Fry said.

Those critical of the investigation have said the tight-lipped nature of the probe had allowed speculation to grow online among true crime sleuths, arguing it could have put innocent people at risk and slowed down the investigation.

The Moscow Police Department has been working with federal agencies, which Fry previously told NewsNation is common in big cases, dismissing rumors that their presence was a signal the case had taken a turn for the worse.

On Friday, he praised the work of other law enforcement officers for their help.

“I have faith in those agencies across the nation, I have faith in our officers, I have faith in the FBI, and they did a great job,” Fry said.