The gruesome murder of four University of Idaho friends while they slept has sent shockwaves through the small college town of Moscow — and the rest of the country.
The victims – all under 22 – were killed in their off-campus home in the middle of the night after partying at different locations in a grisly and seemingly unprovoked murder.
Local police and the FBI have reviewed thousands of pieces of evidence and hundreds of leads, but two weeks after the deaths, they have not released a suspect or the murder weapon.
With a killer on the loose, many students have refused to return to university for the final weeks of the semester, and the father of one victim said he was “frustrated” by the police response in the puzzling case.
Here’s what we know so far about the murders.
Kaylee Goncalves graduated from Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2019 and attended the University of Idaho. She had been in high school with another victim, Madison Mogen, her best friend.
“Most of the time they looked out for each other and would defend each other fiercely if someone else was gossiping,” English and language teacher Todd Josmin told the Idaho Press.
Goncalves shared a photo with her roommates hours before her murder, saying, “A happy girl surrounded by these people.”
She studied General Studies at the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.
Madison Mogen, 21
“Maddie radiated love. She was kind, gentle and oh so funny. Maddie was smart and motivated. She often had multiple jobs, did very well in school and somehow always prioritized time with her friends and family first,” said aunt Katie Blackshear. “Maddie was loved by our family and we are all devastated.”
Mogen was dating Jake Schriger, whose “world was turned upside down by her death,” his mother told The Post, adding, “She and Jake went together like peanut butter and jelly.”
Mogen studied marketing and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi fraternity.
Xana Kernodle, 20
“You rarely meet someone like Xana,” her sister, Jazzmin Kernodle, told CNN. “She was so positive, funny and loved by everyone she met.”
Kernodle was a junior studying marketing and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, according to the university.
Xana was dating Ethan Chapin, who was also murdered.
Ethan Chapin, 20
Ethan was a “kind, loyal, loving son, brother, cousin and friend,” his mother, Stacy Chapin, said in a statement following his murder.
Chapin, a freshman major in recreational sports and tourism management, was in a group of triplets all attending the University of Idaho.
He was a member of the Sigma Chi Brotherhood.
The Night of the Murders
Before the murders, the friends spent their Saturday nights partying as many college students would. Chapin and Kernodle went to a meeting at his fraternity and were home around 1:45 a.m. Sunday, police said.
Goncalves and Mogen went to a local bar called the Corner Club and left around 1:30 am. They stopped at a late-night food truck, where they chatted with others online while waiting for their food. A rideshare driver – who was eliminated as a suspect – drove the two students home, and they arrived just before 2 a.m
Once home, Goncalves called her recurring boyfriend Jack DuCoeur seven times between 2:26 a.m. and 2:52 a.m., but he didn’t answer because he was asleep. Police have ruled out DuCoeur as a suspect.
The four murdered students were found on the second and third floors of their home, but the two roommates living downstairs – Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen – were spared. It’s unclear why the two housemates weren’t killed and if they overslept the attacks.
Funke and Mortensen had also been out that night, returning home just after 1 a.m. on the morning of the murder. Neither of them have spoken publicly about the killings, but have displayed matching tattoos to commemorate their fallen friends.
It has also emerged that Murphy, the dog of murdered roommate Kaylee Goncalves, was at the home when police responded around noon.
However, authorities have not confirmed whether they believe the dog was in the home at the time of the murders.
Police have yet to find a murder weapon, but are believed to be looking for a fixed-blade knife, possibly a KA-BAR-style combat knife.
Scott Jutte, general manager of Moscow Building Supply, told the Idaho Statesman that a police officer stopped by the retailer a few times a week after the murder to ask if he had sold knives of this type.
Authorities have not said why they were looking for the gun.
Police say they processed more than 1,000 leads, collected 103 pieces of evidence, conducted nearly 100 interviews and took more than 4,000 photos of the crime scene.
The killer likely entered the 2,300-square-foot home through a sliding door between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. and stalked through three bedrooms to carry out their knife-wielding rampage, records show. Goncalves and Mogen were killed on the third floor, while Chapin and Kernodle were killed in a bed they shared on the second floor.
According to the coroner’s report, none of the victims showed signs of sexual assault. No motive for the killings has been identified.
who is the killer
Authorities don’t know who is responsible for the murder, but they have ruled out a number of suspects, including: Goncavles’ ex-boyfriend DeCoeur; the man seen at the food truck with Goncalves and Mogen; the person who drove the two girls home; the surviving two housemates, Mortensen and Funke; the victims themselves, as there is no evidence of murder-suicide, and the friends who were called into the house by the surviving housemates on the morning of November 13.
Rumors circulated that the Goncalves said she had been stalked, but police were unable to substantiate the claims.
Famed former FBI profiler Jim Clemente told the Post he believes the suspect is a “younger” man and a first-time killer who knew at least one of the suspects.
“This is an extremely risky crime for the perpetrator – unless they know or are following one of the victims,” he said. “Going into a live-in home with six young adults, each of whom might have a knife or a gun or a cell phone to call the police, is extremely risky unless you know the circumstances inside.”
The police response
While authorities certainly had mountains of evidence and tips to sift through, they’ve fretted over the lack of developments in the case lately.
They have also spoken out about their communications with the public, first saying they did not believe “there is an ongoing risk to the community” and then retracting those statements days later.
Police also said they didn’t know if the killer fled or was hiding in plain sight.
Goncalves’ father Steve expressed his frustration with the police on Saturday and said he was not kept regularly informed of new developments.
“[Police are] They just tell me there’s not much they can tell me, which is frustrating for me because I’ve been very trustworthy,” he said.
https://nypost.com/2022/11/28/university-of-idaho-murders-update-what-we-know-so-far/ What we know so far