University of Idaho homicides
Four U of I students were found dead in a house off campus on Sunday. Follow all our breaking coverage here.
Shortly before noon Sunday, the Moscow Police Department responded to a call about an unconscious individual at a house near the University of Idaho campus. Upon arrival, police found four bodies.
Police and the university identified the deceased as Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene; Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls; and Ethan Chapin, 20, of Mount Vernon, Washington.
Authorities are slowly releasing information about the event.
Here is the latest information and reaction we’ve received. You can also read the Idaho Statesman’s “what we know” story by clicking here.
The Moscow Police Department reiterated on Tuesday evening in a news release that it does not believe there is an ongoing threat to the community and that evidence points toward a targeted attack. The release appeared to be a response to the fact that no suspect has been named and no one is in custody, which has led to “concerns about public safety,” police acknowledged.
“We hear you, and we understand your fears,” the department said in the release.
The department also said that is has shared any information possible without “compromising the ongoing investigation,” and that it is working with Idaho State Police investigators and the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office, among other agencies.
“This incident highlighted that violence is possible in our own community and in every community,” police said in the release. “Until this case is completely resolved, we ask the community to continue to be vigilant, alert, report suspicious activity and help us to be the eyes and ears in our community.”
The release concluded with, “We hope to have more information tomorrow.”
A vigil originally scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 16 was rescheduled to the week of Nov. 28, the University of Idaho announced in a tweet. Many students and Moscow residents have left the town early for Thanksgiving and other reasons, according to previous Statesman reporting.
An FBI spokesperson told the Statesman the federal agency is assisting Moscow police with the homicide investigation.
“Although I can’t discuss specific efforts, the FBI often provides investigative, forensic, and technical assistance to local law enforcement agencies, if requested,” said Sandra Yi Barker, spokesperson for the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office, which covers Idaho.
All three women lived in the house in which the victims were found, according to Maya Hippenstiel, who was a close friend of Kernodle. Hippenstiel also told the Statesman that two other women lived in the house.
The one man at the house, Chapin, was dating Kernodle and was staying over for the night, according to Chapin’s mother, Stacey Chapin.
Latah County sheriff’s deputy Scott Mikolajczyk told the Statesman that he’s seen and heard of many community members leaving town as a result of the incident.
A community member who works at a local sporting goods store, Natasha Rodgers, said the lack of information from police and city officials has contributed to the sense of grief in the community.
“It’s just really surreal,” Rodgers said in an interview. “A lot of people are not feeling safe because of the lack of information they’ve been giving to the public. But we’re still going on. We’re grieving and we feel so incredibly sad for what’s happened to this little town, but there’s an unnerving sense of not feeling safe.”
Ethan Chapin’s mother, Stacey Chapin, told the Statesman that the four students were stabbed. She rebutted speculation about the case, including a New York Times report that quoted a Moscow official calling it a “crime of passion.”
“They were stabbed. We got the call,” Chapin said. “I don’t want people to make assumptions about our kids. It wasn’t drugs and it was definitely not some passion thing between these kids. Someone entered the house.”
Moscow police said investigators believe an “edged weapon such as a knife” was used in the attack. Based on the preliminary investigation, investigators believe that the attack was an isolated and targeted incident and that there is no imminent threat to the community, police said.
Police said they are following all leads and are identifying “persons of interest,” but no suspects are in custody. You can read more here.
Idaho State Police and state and federal law enforcement agencies are assisting the Moscow Police Department with the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police at 208-883-7054.
You can read the Statesman’s complete coverage of the event by clicking on the stories below:
This story was originally published November 15, 2022 11:57 AM.