U of I professor sues TikTok sleuth who has accused her in killing of four students - East Idaho News

U of I professor sues TikTok sleuth who has accused her in killing of four students

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MOSCOW (Idaho Statesman) — A University of Idaho professor on Wednesday filed a defamation lawsuit against a Texas-based TikTok personality who has accused the history chair of being the perpetrator in the killing of four students in an off-campus home on Nov. 13.

Police still have not named a suspect and have not found the fixed-blade knife they say was used in the quadruple homicide that took the lives of U of I seniors Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum; junior Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls; and freshman Ethan Chapin, 20, of Mount Vernon, Washington.

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On Nov. 24, Ashley Guillard, an internet sleuth with over 105,000 followers, posted six videos to her account in which she claimed that Rebecca Scofield was responsible for the four deaths. Guillard also said the professor had been involved in a romantic relationship with one of the victims, Goncalves, and that was the motive.

The lawsuit says that Guillard has “decided to use the community’s pain for her online self-promotion.” In one video, which has more than 2.5 million likes, Guillard flat-out accuses Scofield of participating in the killings.

According to the complaint, Guillard uses Tarot cards and other readings to “solve” crimes. She claims to have solved several high-profile cases, including the deaths of Migos rapper Takeoff, businesswoman Shanquella Robinson and internet personality Kevin Samuels.

Scofield began working at U of I in 2016 and became the history department chair in 2021. The complaint states that she was visiting friends in Portland at the time of the killings and had never taught or met any of the victims.

According to the court filing, Scofield sent Guillard a letter on Nov. 29 demanding that she take down the “defamatory” videos. Instead, Guillard later that week posted additional videos making accusations against Scofield.

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Scofield’s lawsuit says that Guillard’s TikTok videos have damaged her reputation and caused significant emotional distress.

“She fears for her life and for the lives of her family members,” the complaint states. “She has incurred costs, including costs to install a security system and security cameras at her residence. She fears that Guillard’s false statements may motivate someone to cause harm to her or her family members.”

Wendy J. Olson, Scofield’s attorney, told the Statesman in a statement that Guillard has not only created safety issues for the professor and her family, but also harmed the ongoing police investigation.

“These untrue statements … 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,” she said in an email.

The suit seeks relief for Guillard’s “false” statements about a relationship and for claiming she was involved in the killings. She is asking for a jury trial in Idaho.

This story was first reported by the University of Idaho Argonaut.