Around 10 p.m. on Nov. 14, University of Utah students received a U of U alert reading “SLC police seeking person of interest in homicide. Seen on campus this morning.”
Kidus Yohannes, 31, was spotted at the J. Willard Marriott Library around 11 a.m, and the Salt Lake City Police Department officially announced Yohannes as a person of interest at 1:40 p.m on Wednesday.
“We don’t monitor the Salt Lake City Police Twitter feed for those things,” said the University of Utah’s Communications Director, Christopher Nelson, in reference to the timeliness of alerting students. “The question was, ‘Does this person pose an immediate threat?’ Probably not. We’re not even sure he’s on campus.”
The former Utah Valley University student and Ethiopian immigrant is a suspect in the stabbing of 20-year-old Candace Samples at 477 N300 W on Nov. 7, behind a Dollar Tree. Two people were stabbed, but Samples was the only fatality.
“[Candace] was one of the kindest-hearted people I knew. She had such a big heart,” Samples’ legal guardian, Anette Atwood, told KUTV.
Samples was homeless and believed to be living in the area at the time of her murder.
“She didn’t like having rules to live by,” said Atwood. “She wanted to live by her own rules and not answer to anybody. She really struggled with any kind of authority.”
In 2007, Yohannes was charged for two third-degree felonies for providing false information to an Orem firearms dealer. He was arrested after his roommates reportedly told police that Yohannes was building up a stockpile of guns and was obsessed with mass violence. Both charges were dropped.
The University of Utah emphasizes that it has no connections to Yohannes. Around 9 p.m., University officials decided to send out the message to students to keep an eye out rather than for their urgent safety.
“Mostly, the notification tonight was not even designed to be a timely warning,” Nelson said. “It was more supposed to be a heads up, ‘hey, if you see this guy, this is a person you want to stay away from and call the police,’” Nelson said.
Yohannes was also seen at the Marmalade Library at 280 West 500 North, according to the Salt Lake City Police Department.
Information can be called into the Salt Lake City Police Department at (801) 799-3000. The case number is 18-205103.