MOSCOW -- Katy Benoit tried to hide from Ernesto Bustamante, moving several times after she filed a sexual harassment complaint against the University of Idaho psychology professor who would later kill her.
But on Aug. 22, Bustamante found her anyway, and how he managed to track her down is a major question left unanswered by a Moscow Police Department investigation that officially closed Friday.
"No evidence to date has been found to indicate that Bustamante acted with or was provided assistance by another person while committing this crime," said a Friday news release announcing the end of the investigation.
Bustamante resigned from the UI after an internal investigation revealed he had sexual relationships with several students, including Benoit. He shot Benoit 11 times as she smoked on the back porch of her Lilly Street house in Moscow, then killed himself several hours later in a nearby hotel room.
Police suspected that a close female friend of Bustamante's had stalked Benoit on his behalf because some of Benoit's friends said she saw the woman four times in five days just before her murder. But interviews with the friend described in 166 pages of police reports indicate the encounters were likely coincidental.
Other documents included in the reports released Friday offer more background detail of Bustamante's and Benoit's lives, but included no major new information. They did reveal that Bustamante created two files on his computer, with one detailing Benoit's fall 2011 class schedule, and the other listing her Lilly Street address.
The files were last accessed on the day of the shooting.
Lt. Dave Lehmitz with the Moscow Police Department said it remains unknown how Bustamante found out where Benoit lived.
Other reports documented interviews with friends, acquaintances and students who knew Bustamante and Benoit. One student, identified only as "CS," said she had a "casual sex" relationship with Bustamante in November 2010. CS told police that she never officially dated Bustamante, and never saw him with guns or felt threatened by him.
Police found Bustamante's body surrounded by several loaded guns, and he was known to have a concealed weapons license and to carry weapons at all times, including on the UI campus where they are forbidden.
Nolan Boyle, a UI psychology student interviewed by police, said he saw a gun fall from Bustamante's pocket on two occasions, once while on campus. Boyle said he didn't report the incident to university officials or police.
Boyle also told police that Bustamante made sexual advances toward him and other male graduate students.
Another psychology graduate student interviewed by police who asked to remain anonymous said Bustamante made sexual advances toward him. The student also said Bustamante once told him "If you don't finish your thesis I'm going to kill you."
The student told police the statement disturbed him and he thought it was inappropriate.
A female student who asked to remain anonymous said Bustamante flirted with her in his psychology lab, and they eventually had a brief sexual relationship during the spring 2011 semester.
The student said Bustamante never threatened her, but he once held a gun to his own head and threatened to kill himself. Another time, he played Russian roulette with a loaded revolver, she said.
Bustamante suffered from bipolar disorder and severe anxiety, and medications to treat the conditions were found in his hotel room.
Benoit also had mental health issues, and had been treated for bipolar disorder. One report from MPD Detective Bruce Fager described a photo of Benoit he found on her computer that showed her back with numerous cuts.
Fager was able to match the cuts in the photo with healed scars on Benoit's back in autopsy photos, and the pathologist who conducted the autopsy said he believed she was a "cutter," someone who practiced self mutilation.
Benoit's friend and roommate Emma Gregory told Fager the cuts were made over spring break by a friend of Benoit, and the cutting had gotten "out of hand." The friend is currently in a mental ward and could not be interviewed by police, Fager said.
In a statement that coincided with the end of the police investigation, the UI said its efforts to improve its safety policies and procedures will continue. A task force is working to implement the recommendations of a safety review committee, and this week President Duane Nellis signed a new policy that "specifically prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between faculty and students in which the faculty has any direct academic, supervisory, evaluative, counseling or other authority over the student."
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