Moscow police say no suspects have been identified in the murders


Homicides at the University of Idaho

Four U of I students were found dead in an off-campus house on Sunday. Follow all of our breaking coverage here.

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Authorities investigating the death of University of Idaho students still do not have a suspect in custody, but they believe several people are not suspects, including the person who passed the first 911 call and the man who two of the slain women called but did not answer.

At a press conference on Sunday, Moscow Police Chief James Fry also declined to say which victims were on which floors of the three-story rental house where they died. Two of the four students were on the second floor and two on the third, police said.

The press conference was the second time authorities have addressed the public in person since the four students were fatally stabbed at an off-campus house a week earlier.

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Moscow Police Chief James Fry, right, speaks at a Sunday news conference on progress in the investigation into the November 13 stabbing deaths of four University of Moscow students ‘Idaho. At left is Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier. Angela Palermo

Others who Moscow police captain Roger Lanier says are not suspects include the two surviving housemates of the house, the man two of the victims called for, a hooded man seen on video with two of the victims, and a person who took them home. Responding to a reporter’s question, Fry said the 911 caller would not be the killer either.

The four victims of the early Nov. 13 murders were U of I seniors Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, who were close friends; and junior Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls; and freshman Ethan Chapin, 20, of Mount Vernon, Wash., who were dating. The three women lived in the house, while Chapin spent the night with Kernodle.

Lanier recounted what happened that night:

  • Kernodle and Chapin were at the Sigma Chi fraternity house before returning home around 1:45 a.m. Sunday. Moden and Goncalves had gone to a local bar and, later, a food truck in downtown Moscow before heading home, also around 1:45 a.m.
  • The other two tenants of the house had returned around 1 a.m. and did not wake up until the morning, long after the attack.
  • Multiple calls were made “from Madison and Kaylee’s phone” to a man. (Authorities previously confirmed that the calls were made after 2 a.m. and that the man, a friend, was sleeping.)
  • When the 911 caller two minutes before noon reported an unconscious person, police found all four students dead, two on the second floor and two on the third.
  • Autopsies later confirmed they died from multiple stab wounds and all were likely asleep when the attacks occurred, although some victims showed defensive wounds indicating they had struggled with the attacker. There were no signs of sexual assault and none were bound or gagged.
  • At the start of the investigation, police surveyed local businesses to see if all fixed blade knives had been purchased. The weapon used in the crime has still not been found.
  • Detectives searched three nearby dumpsters for evidence, “but nothing of note was discovered”.

Four University of Idaho students were found dead Nov. 13 in this 3-story house on King Road in Moscow. According to the police, the assailant entered through the sliding glass door under the balcony. Angela Palermo

Chief: We will release the 911 caller ID when we are ready.

Police have not disclosed who called 911 at noon. “When we’re ready to release this, we will,” Fry said. Police also did not release the audio of the call.

Fry declined to say whether the attack was carried out by a single person, and he said he didn’t know why the attack didn’t wake up other housemates.

Police still believe the attacks were targeted, but Fry said he was “unable to say” if any of the four in particular were targeted.

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University of Idaho President C. Scott Green, left, speaks during Sunday’s press conference. Moscow Police Department via Facebook

Avoid speculation, says Idaho state police chief

“We appreciate the community support,” Lanier said. “We understand how stressful this is and will continue to work in this situation.”

Idaho State Police Director Kedrick Wills said the agency – working with the U of I, Moscow police and the FBI – is committed to solving the “senseless murders “. He encouraged the public to avoid speculation and instead rely on official information.

“We know people want answers,” Wills said. “We also want answers.”

University president: some students will stay away

U of I President C. Scott Green said he recognizes some students don’t want to return to campus anytime soon and want to complete the fall semester remotely.

“We ask instructors to plan for both groups of students at the end of this semester,” he said.

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“We need to be prepared for all possibilities, including a lengthy investigation,” University of Idaho President C. Scott Green said at the press conference. Angela Palermo

Video surveillance, observations still sought

Investigators said they were looking for more surveillance of homes and businesses “in the geographic area” of West Taylor Avenue (north boundary), West Palouse River Driver (south), US 95-2700 block (east) and Arboretum and Botanical Garden (west). The target time is 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. on November 13.

Business and local government editor David Staats contributed.

Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle
Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle, two of the students killed at the University of Idaho, were dating. Maya Hippinstiel

Kaylee Gonçalves and Madison Mogen
Kaylee Goncalves, left, and Madison Mogen were close friends. Maya Hippinstiel

This story was originally published November 20, 2022 5 p.m.

Angela Palermo covers business and public health for the Idaho statesman. She grew up in Hagerman and graduated from the University of Idaho, where she studied journalism and business. Angela has previously covered education for the Lewiston Tribune and the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
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