One of the surviving roommates who lived in the house. Where four University of Idaho students were killed told investigators. He had an encounter with a masked man that night and went into a “frozen shock phase.” A reaction medical experts said was not the case. Unusual in potentially threatening situations.
Police initially said the surviving roommates, Dylan Mortensen. And Bethany Funk, were believed to have been asleep at the time of the stabbing. But court records released Thursday show Mortensen. identified as D.M. In an affidavit. She encountered the suspect while fleeing her Moscow, Idaho, home.
Brian Kohberger, a doctoral student in criminology. At nearby Washington State University at the time. Is charged with four counts in the Nov. 21 deaths of Madison Mogen; Kylie Goncalves. 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.
According to the affidavit, Mortensen “described the figure as 5’10” or tall. The male DM walked past. He stood in a ‘frozen shock stage.’ The man walked towards the rear sliding glass door. D.M. On seeing the man, he locked himself in his house.”
About eight hours later, around noon. Authorities were called from one of the roommates’ cellphones. According to court documents. It is not clear who made the call.
What has been described as the “frozen shock phase” may fall under many acute trauma responses. Such as dissociation and tonic immobility. Which are typically manifested in stressful situations, experts said Friday.
Dr. Judith F., clinical assistant professor of psychiatry. At the New York University Grossman School of Medicine at NYU Langone Health. It comes down to the basic human response of fight.
“When your body is in shock and you think you’re going to die. Or you think you’re in a threatening situation, adrenaline increases. And shuts down your sympathetic nervous system. And you can experience a frozen state where you consciously know. What happening. , but then a coping mechanism for you to separate,” Joseph said.
People who have experienced it say they feel as if they are not part of their body. A state brought on by traumatic shock, he said. “People can dissociate in and out for hours. Especially if they’ve been through severe trauma.” Joseph said, adding that their mind wanders to other places to get away from the trauma or fear.
In the statement, Mortensen and Funke described the pain they felt. After losing their friend and housemate.
Mortensen said she heard Goncalves playing with her dog around 4 a.m. and then, a short time later. Heard her housemate say, “There’s somebody here,” according to court documents.
Then, she said, she heard crying coming from Carnodle’s room. And a male voice saying, “It’s OK, I’m going to help you,” something to the effect of, according to the affidavit.
Cellphone requesting help for an “unconscious person.” according to court documents.
“It’s possible that what happened to him was that he went into a sort of dissociative state. And he was sort of confused and shocked and didn’t really understand what was going on.” said Dr. Akeem Marsh. a clinical professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone School of Health. of Medicine, referring to Mortensen.
“In this state, the mind is really shutting down to protect itself.”
Marsh said that a person “can have no sense of time, many hours can pass. And you don’t really know what happened until you come back to reality and something happened”.
These are all responses to traumatic shock, he said. Which can impair cognitive abilities, including decision-making. She said survivors can experience symptoms of shock. Which can last for weeks after the injury, especially as awareness of what happened grows.
Emily Dworkin, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. At the University of Washington School of Medicine.
“You’ve completely stopped being able to encode what’s going on.
Tonic immobility can last several hours in some people, he said.