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Idaho student murders: It makes sense why it took a roommate 8 hrs to call 911

By Lee Cleveland - January 8, 2023

(Main image courtesy is Dylan Mortensen with Madison Mogen. Courtesy of VSCO / Dylan Mortensen

Moscow, ID police are still “puzzled” about why Dylan Mortensen, 21, a surviving roommate in the University of Idaho quadruple murder case, waited eight hours to call police after claiming to have seen an unknown “figure clad in black clothing and a mask” walking past her just after 4 a.m. on Nov. 13.

Mortensen also told police she thought she heard another roommate say, “There’s someone here,” followed by crying.

The 8-hour gap “has been something that we have puzzled over — we don’t know if it was an issue of intoxication, or of fear,” a lawman said via the New York Post.

“We look at these things through the lens of rational adults — and when we do that, sometimes things don’t make sense to us — but she’s a 20-year-old girl and we don’t know what she was doing, or if she was scared,” he continued.

At that age and in a festive college environment, it’s not uncommon to see all kinds of strange people go in and out of dormitories and apartments all day and all night, especially on weekends. In fact, a situation involving a murderous intruder would probably be the last scenario that most college students would consider in that situation.

In that circumstance, most students would probably be more likely to assume that the stranger walking through their home is a friend of a friend or someone with at least a loose association with one of their five roommates.

Simply put, in that type of environment it’s common to see people in your home you don’t know. It happens all the time.

But, what about the mask?

The fact she saw a “masked” stranger yet wasn’t frightened enough to call 911 is a bit odd at first thought. However, she might have subconsciously dismissed the mask for an extra layer of protection from COVID. For the better part of the last three years, more than half the country has donned all types of creative-looking masks.

Second, it’s college and there are always young folks partying and dressing strangely. Trust me, they don’t wait for Halloween to look or act weird.

In college, I once knew someone who walked into a bank on a bright and sunny day with a large, fully open umbrella as part of a school project. He then proceeded to walk down the aisles of a large grocery store with the umbrella still open.

College campus life is a different world. It’s a bit like vacationing in Las Vegas and escaping reality.

But, she thought she heard crying

The keyword is “thought.” If she heard crying, it wasn’t the kind of crying we see in horror movies where the victim is screaming and there’s no mistaking there’s an emergency. A faint, short-lasting cry could have been subconsciously dismissed by her as the television or simply something other than a cry.

It’s easy for critics to play Monday Morning Quarterback AFTER the fact. But, given the circumstances, it makes perfect makes sense why a presumably exhausted 21-year-old college student while on campus (or close enough) missed some seemingly obvious clues at 4 AM and proceeded to go to sleep immediately after the murders.

Bryan Kohberger entering the courtroom
Bryan Kohberger is suspected of murdering the four students.

Could lives have been saved if Mortensen promptly called 911?

An expert quoted by the New York Post doesn’t think so.

“The four were dead when the guy left, and they weren’t crying for help, they weren’t moving or trying to get out,” said Dr. Michael Baden, former chief medical examiner of New York City, adding, “They weren’t in a condition where an ambulance could save their life, on the basis of what we know now.”

“People are concerned about [the delay in calling for help], but it isn’t a concern from a forensic point of view. Nothing was interfered with by that delay,” Baden added.


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