Cops are unsure if University of Idaho students were targeted

Authorities investigating the killings of four University of Idaho students traced a key detail in the grisly case — revealing on Wednesday that detectives are actually unsure whether the quadruple murders were a targeted attack.

The startling revelation came after local police told the public early in their investigation that they believe a killer or killers targeted the victims of last month’s brutal knife attack at an off-campus home in the university city of Moscow.

In a press release published on its website and Facebook, the Moscow Police Department blamed a “miscommunication” with prosecutors for the apparent change in theory.

“Conflicting information has been released in the last 24 hours. Latah County Prosecutor’s Office said the suspect(s) looked specifically at this home and that one or more of the residents were undoubtedly targeted,” Moscow police said in a press release. “We spoke to the Latah County Attorney’s Office and determined that this was a communication error.

“Detectives currently do not know whether the apartment or the residents were specifically attacked, but are investigating further.”

The four victims (circled) were at the home in Moscow, Idaho when they were killed.
Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were found together after the murder.
Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were found together after the murder.
Xena Kernodle/Instagram

Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, both 20, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, both 21, were found dead at their college home on November 13 and no suspects have been identified in the murders.

On one occasion, 10 days after the students were killed, Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier said during a press conference: “We have made it very clear to the public from the start that we believe this was a targeted attack.

“To be honest you have to trust us at this point because we won’t publish why we think that.”

Mourners pay their respects at a vigil for the murdered University of Idaho students in Lewiston, Idaho.
Mourners pay their respects at a vigil for the murdered University of Idaho students in Lewiston, Idaho.
AP

Early Thursday morning, under a Frequently Asked Questions section of the Moscow Police Department’s website, a response to whether the killings posed any danger to the public read: “Nevertheless, detectives believe these killings were targeted.”

Latah County Attorney Bill Thompson said: News Nation Tuesday that saying the attack was “targeted” might not have been the best choice of words, and that it might mean different things to different people.

He added investigators believe the suspect looked at “that particular apartment” but couldn’t say if a specific person was on the killer’s radar. He also said he wasn’t aware that drugs played a role in the murders.

Then the next day a Reporter with KTVB tweeted Wednesday morning that Thompson confirmed to her in a taped interview that one of the victims had been targeted.

A sign for Kaylee Goncalves at a makeshift memorial at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.
A sign for Kaylee Goncalves at a makeshift memorial at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.
REUTERS

The deaths have led to few responses as the killer or killers remain at large, causing frustration among victims’ families and growing fear in the small Idaho community.

“No suspect has been identified at this time and only verified information that does not impede the investigation will be released to the public,” Moscow police said. “There is unfounded speculation fueling community fears and spreading false facts. We recommend referencing official publications for accurate information and up-to-date progress.”

https://nypost.com/2022/12/01/cops-unsure-university-of-idaho-students-were-targeted/ Cops are unsure if University of Idaho students were targeted

JACLYN DIAZ

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