Idaho police seek car seen near site where 4 students killed

Four Dead University of Idaho
Photo credit AP News/Ted S. Warren

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Police are asking for help finding the occupant of a car that was seen near where four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death last month, saying that person could have “critical information" about the case.

The Moscow Police Department issued a statement Wednesday afternoon asking for the public's help tracking down the person or people inside a white Hyundai Elantra made between 2011 and 2013 that was near the off-campus home in the early morning hours of Nov. 13. Investigators do not have the sedan’s license plate.

“Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be the piece of the puzzle that helps investigators solve these murders,” the department wrote.

Relatively few details have been released about the slayings of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin. The police department has not yet named a suspect or made any arrests, and investigators have not yet found a weapon. Autopsies determined the four students were stabbed to death, the attack likely starting while they were sleeping.

“Tips and leads have led investigators to look for additional information about a vehicle being in the immediate area of the King Street residence during the early morning hours of November 13th. Investigators believe the occupant(s) of this vehicle may have critical information to share regarding this case," the department wrote in a news release. “If you know of or own a vehicle matching this description, or know of anyone who may have been driving this vehicle on the days preceding or the day of the murders, please forward that information to the Tip Line.”

The Moscow Police Department asked anyone with information to email or call its tip line at 208-883-7180. The FBI, which is assisting in the investigation, has created a website where people can upload security camera footage or other digital media from the area that was recorded around the time of the killings.

The four stabbing victims were friends and members of the university’s Greek system. The killings have left the close-knit community of Moscow stunned and grieving, shattering the sense of safety many had in the rural farming and university town. Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle lived together with two other roommates in the rental home just across the street from campus, and Chapin — Kernodle’s boyfriend — was there visiting.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry was at the rental home with other law enforcement officers on Wednesday, collecting some of the things that belonged to the victims so they could be returned to their families. He’d announced the plan on Monday, saying that returning meaningful items to the families would hopefully help the families’ healing.

A lot of resources have been dedicated to solving the case, including six detectives with the Moscow department, 48 FBI investigators and more than a dozen Idaho State Police investigators.

“We’re going to do our job and we’re going to do this to the best of our ability,” Fry said outside the home on Wednesday. “We owe this to the families, we owe this to the victims, we owe this to our community, so we’re going to continue on.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: AP News/Ted S. Warren