Idaho State Police add patrols on college campus as school holds vigil for 4 students killed in unsolved stabbings



CNN

The Idaho State Police added four campus patrols and 14 patrols for the general community as the University of Idaho holds a vigil Wednesday night for the four students fatally stabbed earlier this month.

Several hundred people attend the vigil on campus for 9,000 students to commemorate the victims: Ethan Chapin, 20; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Madison Mogen, 21.

Several family members spoke about their loved ones.

“We lost four beautiful souls,” Goncalves’ father Steve said.

Investigators have yet to identify a suspect or find the murder weapon, but an Idaho State Police spokesperson said they have begun receiving forensic test results, reports FoxNews.

“I know every type of test… some take longer than others. And I also know that there have been results that have been returned and those are going directly to the investigators, so they can help, again, paint that picture as we continue to talk,” said said spokesman Aaron Snell, while declining to say who the DNA belonged to.

CNN has contacted Snell for comment.

State police are assisting police in Moscow, a city of about 26,000, with the investigation. The uncertainty and lack of information about the unsolved murders left the campus emptier than usual after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Although there is no official number on the number of returning students, Provost and Executive Vice President Torrey Lawrence said CNN faculty report that about two-thirds to three-quarters of students attend. in person.

“It’s a difficult situation, and we’re moving forward trying to support all of our staff, our faculty, our staff, our students, and trying to meet their needs,” Lawrence said.

A student told CNN that with an unidentified killer, people are “outlined.”

“It’s definitely a little bit different,” said student Hayden Rich. “It sounds a bit sad. It’s a bit quiet.

Snell told CNN on Tuesday that he has seen an increase in 911 calls as cases remain unsolved. Most of these calls relate to “suspicious person” or “wellness check” activity.

“We recognize that there’s heightened fear in the community and so officers are responding to those calls and they’re dealing with them as they come,” Snell said.

President of the University of Idahos Scott Green admitted last week that some students did not want to return until a suspect was in custody.

“As such, faculty have been asked to prepare in-person and distance learning options so that each student can choose their method of engagement for the final two weeks of the semester,” he said. he writes in a statement.

Dozens of local, state and federal investigators are still working to determine who carried out the brutal attack. Investigators have yet to identify a suspect or find a weapon – believed to be a fixed-blade knife – and have sifted through more than 1,000 tips and conducted at least 150 interviews.

The four students were found stabbed to death on November 13 in an off-campus house in Moscow. The murders destabilized the campus community and the town of about 25,000 people, which had not seen a murder since 2015.

Police said they believed the killings were “targeted” and “isolated”, but did not release evidence to support that analysis. They also initially said there was no threat to the public – but later backtracked on that assurance.

“We cannot say there is no threat to the community,” Chief Constable James Fry said days after the killings.

Authorities said they were not ruling out the possibility that more than one person was involved in the stabbings.

So far, using the evidence gathered at the scene and the wealth of tips and interviews, investigators have been able to piece together an approximate timeline and map of the group’s final hours.

On the night of the murders, Goncalves and Mogen were at a sports bar, and Chapin and Kernodle were seen at a frat party.

Investigators believe the four victims had returned home at 2 a.m. the night of the stabbings. Two surviving roommates had also been out in Moscow that night, police said, and returned home at 1 a.m.

Police earlier said Goncalves and Mogen arrived home at 1:45 a.m., but updated the timeline on Friday, saying digital evidence showed the couple returned at 1:56 a.m. after visiting a food stall. truck and being driven home by a “private party”. ”

The following morning, two surviving housemates “summoned friends to the residence because they believed one of the victims on the second floor had passed out and was not waking up,” police said in a statement. Someone called 911 from the house at 11:58 a.m. using the phone of one of the surviving roommates.

When the police arrived, they found two victims on the second floor and two victims on the third floor. There were no signs of a break-in or damage, police said.

Investigators do not believe the two surviving housemates were involved in the deaths.

A coroner determined that the four victims had each been stabbed multiple times and were likely asleep when the attacks began. Some of the students had defensive injuries, according to the Latah County coroner.

Student Ava Forsyth said her roommate was staying home because she felt unsafe. Forsyth said she felt “moderately” safe, but “not so much” at night when she took advantage of free foot security on campus.

Rich, the student who said people are “sketched out,” said he decided to come back for the many tests he has this week. Student Lexi Way told CNN she felt safe with the tight campus security and “tended to learn better in the classroom.”

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