BBC to explore Idaho University murders in new documentary

Zara in Moscow, Idaho

Zara McDermott is to present a new documentary exploring the social media whirlwind of the Idaho University murders.


BBC Three and BBC iPlayer are set to air a compelling new documentary, The Idaho Murders: Trial by TikTok, released Wednesday, 13 March at 9PM.

The gripping film will delve into the chaos and frenzy on social media that ensued after the tragic deaths of four students from Idaho University.

In November 2022, the quiet town of Moscow, Idaho was shaken by the brutal murders of Ethan Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, and Madison Mogen, who were all victims of a stabbing incident.

Zara McDermott will trace the journey from the initial crime reports to the arrest, highlighting how every aspect of the murder investigation became fodder for social media, and will interact with individuals who embarked on a quest to solve the crime themselves.

Discovering the case through social media platforms, McDermott was drawn into the mystery, as were millions globally, during the six weeks the police reported having no leads on suspects, motives, or the murder weapon, and no signs of forced entry were found. The case’s intrigue only grew, amassing nearly 2 billion views on TikTok, yet remained unresolved for weeks.

The documentary will also feature interactions with individuals who are deeply engrossed in online true crime discussions, developing their own theories about the murders, as well as those directly impacted by the social media spectacle. This exploration aims to shed light on the implications of the internet’s obsession with true crime and its effects on those involved.


Zara McDermott said: “I’ll be investigating the social media interest around the tragic murder case of the University of Idaho students which captured the minds of many around the world. I’m keen to find out why true crime is such a big topic online and the impact on those involved.”

Lucy Hillman, Executive Producer for Summer Films added: “This was a desperately tragic event for the families of the students and the community of Moscow, Idaho. In a world where every high-profile crime will now be scrutinised online, Zara has once again shown her ability to get inside a story with freshness, sensitivity and insight by discovering some of the ambitions and motivations behind the self-styled internet sleuths.”

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