(NewsNation) — A University of Idaho professor is suing a TikTok user who accused her of playing a role in the stabbing deaths of four students.
First reported by The Argonaut, the University of Idaho’s student newspaper wrote that Ashley Guillard of Texas claims to have solved several murders “using tarot cards and other readings.” Guillard, who has over 106,000 followers on TikTok, has now turned her attention to the killings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20. The four students were found dead in a rental home near campus Nov.13. Goncalves, Mogen and Kernodle were roommates. Chapin and Kernodle were dating.
People have not yet named a suspect, but have cleared a number of people. Because of a lack of information about what happened, rumors and online speculation about the case have been swirling. One of the victims’ neighbors told NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield he went to police on his own accord to submit his DNA to make online sleuths who suspected him leave him alone.
In her own videos, Guillard accused Rebecca Scofield, a history professor at the University of Idaho, of ordering the “execution” of the four students. Guillard, without evidence, claims Scofield was, or at least wanted, to be romantically involved with one of the victims.
According to the Argonaut, a cease-and-desist letter was sent to Guillard on Nov.29, about five days after the videos started, demanding she take down the videos. Scofield, the Argonaut wrote, says she was in Oregon with her husband visiting friends when the students died. She also said that none of the victims was ever in her class, and she does not remember meeting them.
Scofield’s lawsuit, according to the Idaho Statesman, says Guillard “decided to use the community’s pain for her online self-promotion.” Now, the lawsuit said, Guillard’s TikTok videos caused Scofield significant emotional distress. The professor has had to install a security system and cameras at her residence, and now fears for her life, the complaint says.
“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,” Wendy J. Olson, Scofield’s attorney, said in an email to the Statesman.
Meanwhile, Guillard has made videos saying she’s going to “win” the lawsuit, and that Scofield will regret filing it.
“I’m actually gleaming with excitement,” Guillard said. “I cannot wait to present my ideas in court.”