By: BETH HEMPHILL
MOSCOW, Idaho (Court TV) – The father of one of the victims killed in the Idaho Student Killings has demanded accountability after an online news outlet published what the Goncalves family has called a “fictional story,” written in “poor taste.”
Bryan Kohberger is charged with four counts of first-degree murder for the death of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, who were found stabbed to death in their home near the University of Idaho campus on Nov. 13, 2022.
The story in question, “The Eyes of a Killer: Part VI,” was published by AIR MAIL author Howard Blum on October 7, 2023. The article, seemingly written from the perspective of 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves’ father Steve, focuses on text messages allegedly sent while the Idaho killings were happening. Blum says this new information is what Steve Goncalves considers the prosecution’s “hidden ace.”
“Steve had been told that the two survivors allegedly had not only been awake while the killings had taken place, but that they had heard everything. More astonishingly, his grand jury sources alleged that the two girls had been texting one another as the murderer methodically went from one room to the next,” Blum writes.
Immediately following the social media reaction surrounding these new allegations, the attorney representing the Goncalves Family released the following statement:
‘As it is common in these situations, people try to make money off of the dead. It’s a free world and people can write and say pretty much anything they want these days. Most of the time my family and I just ignore the chatter and the noise, but lines have to be drawn somewhere. I was recently sent an article on “Airmail” by Howard Blum describing Kaylee, apparently quoting me, and completely making up a fictional story about FBI letters, etc…Mr. Blum recently has used the murders to get back into the spotlight, appearing on an NBC show, as well as a “book” he is writing. He has reached out through our attorney several times to speak to us, but we have declined. I just want to make it very clear to the public that we have not spoken to Mr. Blum about the death of our daughter.”
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Although Blum’s article states that Steve Goncalves was not interviewed by Blum, the author makes inferences about the grieving father’s experiences and the state of mind the victims were in the night of the murders. ‘The possibility that two people had a sense of the horror while it occurred and had not acted, calling neither friends nor 911, left Steve floored,’ Blum writes.
In his article, he writes as if he were Mr. Goncalves and has gone through the tragedy of having a murdered daughter and what he has experienced and is still experiencing. This is nothing more than grandstanding and a very, very poor attempt at getting attention. This piece is obviously fictional but written in poor taste. The Goncalves Family would ask that everyone please respect the victims of this tragedy and continue to support trustworthy journalism,’ the Goncalves family statement reads.
Blum, 75, responded in a statement following the backlash that he has no desire to get into a public argument with Mr. Goncalves, who Blum says has already suffered too much pain. He also defends the information he wrote, saying it was based on a ‘trove of texts, Steve’s public statements and interviews with people close to him.’
The family of Kaylee Goncalves had filed a motion, in addition to the request by 30 news organizations, including Court TV, challenging the gag order. The Goncalves family has argued it is unduly broad and places an undue burden on the families.
Kohberger’s attorneys have argued the gag order is necessary to ensure their client receives a fair trial.