Voices: Why the macabre and harrowing Idaho murders case has gripped the world

Everybody loves an unsolved murder mystery - except one that is real life.

And plenty of people love pondering over clues, and conspiracies, and potential theories for such a mystery, but not when four young people have been murdered in their beds, and the police appear to be making no progress.

For more than six weeks, the plight of four young students - Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and 20-year-old Ethan Chapin - has gripped the imagination of a large chunk of America.

Now, the interest has spiked with news that a suspect, a fellow student, has been arrested in Pennsylvania.

That level of fascination has no doubt come close to the macabre or unhealthy, as is always the case in cases marked out by their gruesome nature.

Yet much of the interest - let’s even hope that is most of the interest - appears to have been driven by a desire to solve the killings and try and secure justice for the parents and friends of those young people, all students at the University of Idaho in Moscow, located 300 miles north of the state capital, Boise.

“I have to have my justice. These families deserve that,” Steve Goncalves, the father of one of the students, said in an interview a few days after the murders, in which he was somewhat critical of the police effort.

“We just have to come together as a community. Submit all those pieces of evidence…and get this guy off the streets.”

Often in such tragedies, the media likes to talk about how tracking down a killer or convicting them, will help bring “closure” to the families.

Rarely is it as simple as that: if you talk to parents who have lost their children to gun violence, or a drug overdose, they will sometimes tell you that even ten years later, they are still feeling that loss, as raw as on the first day they lost their loved one.

But justice is powerful. And justice - especially if it means preventing some other family from suffering the same agony - can bring focus to a life that was taken.

That is what the families of the four students killed in Idaho, studying for the future, must be hoping for now, after it was reported that a suspect in the case has been arrested.

Arrest reports showed 28-year-old Bryan Christopher Kohberger, was detained by police 2,500 miles away in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, at around 3am this morning.

A white Hyundai Elantra - the same make and model of car being sought by cops in connection to the killing - was towed from outside the Kohberger’s home Idaho police have confirmed.

He was being held for extradition on an arrest warrant for first degree murder, issued by the Moscow Police Department.

Even now, there is much we do not know about the case. We were told the students were stabbed using a fixed-blade knife, but that has not been recovered.

On Friday afternoon, police held a press conference where they confirmed the suspect had been charged with four counts of murder, but said they could not provide many further details, including what tipped them off, until he had been brought to Idaho.

“We have an individual in custody who committed these horrible crimes, and I believe the community is safe,” said Moscow Police Department chief James Fry.

As a result, we still have not been told the motive for the crime. Almost as striking as the murder of the four in the early hours of 13 November at an off-campus home, is that two other roommates were left unharmed and slept through the tragedy.

While it is understood the four died at 3am or 4am that morning, the bodies went undiscovered for around eight hours.

Finally, police were finally called to the home in response to a report about an “unconscious individual”.

Two points are worth making.

Often police make arrests - especially in high profile cases - and then those individuals are released.

The second is that nothing with bring back those four murdered young people - Kaylee Goncalves, in her senior year and studying to become an elementary school teacher; Madison Mogen, a fellow senior studying marketing; Xana Kernodle, who was a junior and studying marketing, and freshman Ethan Chapin, who was studying sport and tourism management.

It is also worth pondering that if this case proceeds, through arraignments, indictments, and trials, the collective obsession with the case will only grow.

Let us hope, that all of us - the media, and the public - try to bear in mind the ongoing agonies the families will endure, and grant them the space and privacy to deal with that.