The Moscow coroner, who also operates her own law practice in the city’s commercial district, has stated that the toxicology findings for the four murdered University of Idaho students are irrelevant.
“They can be related to the cause or way of death, but they aren’t in this case,” said Cathy Mabbutt about the tests that find out if a person was drinking or using drugs when they died.
She also said that investigators are not likely to learn anything new from the results. The Spokane Medical Examiner’s Office did the autopsies, but Mabbutt won’t get the full reports until the toxicology results come back from the lab, which usually takes three to eight weeks after the samples are taken.
As of Thursday, the results hadn’t been sent to the coroner. Mabbutt was elected Latah County coroner in 2006. He was in charge of figuring out what killed Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Ethan Chapin, 20 and Xana Kernodle, 20 and how they died.
BREAKING: Idaho murder suspect has been arrested. Moscow PD will be holding a news conference at 4PM ET today.
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) December 30, 2022
The four friends were stabbed to death in a rental home near campus between 3 and 4 a.m. on November 13. Police haven’t found a suspect in the gruesome killings that have shaken the small college town of 25,000.
“It’s been really difficult, especially not knowing who did it and not having someone in custody,” Mabbutt told Fox News Digital in a sit-down interview Thursday. Mabbutt went to the scene of the crime and talked to each family member about what the autopsies showed.
Police and Mabbutt say that a large fixed-blade knife was used to sneak up on the students as they slept in their beds at 1122 King Road. Each victim had been stabbed several times.
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“It had to be a really big knife to inflict those injuries and kill four people,” she said. In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital on Sunday, Goncalves’s father said that Mabbutt told him that the wounds looked like “tears” and “big open gouges.”
Mabbutt said that at least one of the victims had defensive wounds, which meant she must have been awake during the attack. “I deal with a lot of sadness, but this is pretty extreme,” she said. “It’s pretty unusual for us to get homicides, let alone four at a time.”
As coroner, Mabbutt has to look into one to two suspicious deaths a week. Since her main job is as a defense lawyer, the two jobs can overlap. Her law office took on James Curtis Leonard’s most recent arrest for assault. He is already in prison for killing someone.
— JB Biunno #HeyJB (@WFLAJB) January 3, 2023
More than ten years ago, Mabbutt was the coroner who figured out what killed the man Leonard killed outside his Genesee home. Police have said that he has nothing to do with the killings.
“I would never get appointed [as a defence lawyer] on a case where there’s a murder or accidental death if they’re in Latah County because I’m a witness for the state,” she said of the policies in place to prevent a conflict of interest.
Before becoming a lawyer, Mabbutt worked full-time as an emergency room nurse at a nearby hospital. About six years ago, she decided to do nothing but work as a lawyer. Moscow has had its share of murders, but Mabbutt says this is the first time “they haven’t known who did it in a short period of time.”
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