Hundreds of tips pour in for Idaho murders investigation

Investigators looking into the University of Idaho murders.
Investigators looking into the University of Idaho murders. Photo credit City of Moscow Police Department

Two weeks ago, four University of Idaho students were found murdered in off-campus housing. This weekend, an investigation into their deaths by stabbing continues.

As of Friday, more than 260 digital media submissions had been uploaded to a Federal Bureau of Investigation link, said authorities in Moscow, Idaho. Additionally, 113 pieces of physical evidence have been identified.

In a Nov. 14 message from university president Scott Green, the victims were identified as: Ethan Chapin, a freshman in the Sigma Chi fraternity; Xana Kernodle, a junior in the Pi Beta Phi sorority; Madison Mogen, a senior in the Pi Beta Phi sorority and Kaylee Goncalves, a senior in the Alpha Phi sorority.

According to the Moscow Police Department, Goncalves and Mogen were at a local bar called Corner Club in downtown Moscow, between 10 p.m. Nov. 12 and 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 13th.

“At approximately 1:40 a.m., Kaylee and Madison were seen on video at a local food vendor called the ‘Grub Truck’ at 318 S. Main Street and used a private party for a ride home from downtown to arrive at their 1122 King Road residence around 1:56 a.m.,” the department said. Chapin and Kernodle were at the Sigma Chi house on the University of Idaho Campus at 735 Nez Perce Drive sometime before 1:45 a.m. Nov. 13, when they are believed to have returned to 1122 King Road as well.

Police said that calls were made from Goncalves and Mogen’s phones to an unidentified male during the early morning hours of Nov. 13. That person is not a suspect, they said.

Two others who live at that residence were also out until around 1 a.m. Nov. 13, when they returned to the King Drive home. Later that morning, they “summoned friends to the residence because they believed one of the second-floor victims had passed out and was not waking up,” police said.

Then, at 11:58 a.m., a 911 call from one of the surviving roommates’ cell phones requested aid for an unconscious person.

“Multiple people talked with the 911 dispatcher before Moscow Police arrived at the location,” said authorities. “Officers entered the residence and found two victims on the second floor and two victims on the third floor.” A dog was also found at the scene and has since been given to a “responsible party.”

In addition to the male who received calls from two of the victim’s phones, their surviving roommates, a male in a Grub Truck surveillance video, a private party driver who took Goncalves and Mogen home and individuals who called 911 are not suspects.

Per autopsies conducted Nov. 17, the Latah County Coroner confirmed the victims’ identities and determined the cause of death was homicide by stabbing.

“The coroner stated the four victims were likely asleep, some had defensive wounds, and each was stabbed multiple times,” said police. “There was no sign of sexual assault.”

In a Friday update, the police department said that investigators have not found any connection between these murders and a 1999 double stabbing in Pullman, Wash. or a 2021 double stabbing (with one death) in Salem, Ore., though the cases have some similarities.

As of Saturday, no suspect has been identified.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little has directed up to $1 million in state emergency funds for the ongoing investigation and the University of Idaho is hosting a candlelight vigil Wednesday to honor the memory of the victims.

Anyone with tips or information can contact the Tip Line at 208-883-7180, tipline@ci.moscow.id.us or fbi.gov/moscowidaho. Authorities believe the murders were targeted but have told the community to remain alert.

Featured Image Photo Credit: City of Moscow Police Department