Idaho student murders latest: Victim’s father says Moscow police believe only one of four students killed was ‘target’

Video shows mystery man with slain Idaho students

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Moscow police believe that only one of the four University of Idaho students stabbed to death in an off-campus rental home was the intended “target” of the quadruple murders, according to the father of victim Kaylee Goncalves.

Ever since law enforcement made the grim discovery on 13 November, officials have described the attack as “targeted” but have refused to reveal what has led them to that conclusion.

“I’ve been told it’s one, but then again, there’s the bigness like it’s purposely big,” Steve Goncalves said on Wednesday.

It is not clear who among Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin is believed to be the target and no motive is known at this time.

Police are continuing to explore claims that Goncalves had a stalker – a claim that they have not been able to verify or rule out yet.

Now, nearly two weeks into the investigation, officials are also exploring a potential link between the slayings and a 2021 unsolved stabbing murder in Oregon. The mother of the Oregon victim told The Independent on Thursday she hopes investigators can get answers for all five slain victims.

Key points

Weapon believed to be a fix-blade knife, say policePolice probing possible tie to 2021 murder Police unable to rule out whether victim Kaylee Goncalves had a stalkerOne victim was intended target, victim’s father saysShow latest update


Moscow police ‘stumped’ after surviving roommates sleep through attack

Police investigating the violent murders of four University of Idaho students have admitted that they’re stumped as to how the two surviving roommates managed to sleep through the brutal knife attack without being woken.

Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were stabbed to death inside a home in King Road, Moscow, in the early hours of the morning of 13 November. The coroner said that they were stabbed multiple times each with a large knife and were likely sleeping in bed when the attack unfolded. Their bodies were found on the second and third floors of the three-storey home.

The surviving roommates were on the first floor of the home.

Goncalves and Mogen had spent Saturday night at a bar in downtown Moscow while Kernodle and Chapin attended a sorority party on campus together. All four victims returned to the home at around 1.45am.

The three female victims live inside the home close to the university campus, along with two other female students.

Police said that the pair were also in the property at the time of the killings, having returned to the property at around 1am – not long before the four victims also returned home.

The pair were unharmed in the violent knife attack and appear to have slept through what happened.

A 911 call was made from the property at 11.58am on Sunday from the cellphone of one of the roommates, reporting an “unconscious individual”.

In a press conference on Sunday, police said that the surviving roommates “did not wake up until later that morning”.

When pressed about how the two women managed to sleep through the violent stabbings of four individuals, officials admitted it is something investigators are also struggling to understand.

“I don’t even know that information at this point in time,” said Chief James Fry of the Moscow Police Department. “That’s why we’re continuing to investigate.”

Rachel Sharp26 November 2022 02:00


Surviving housemate gets tattoo in tribute of slain friends

One of the housemates who survived the horror quadruple murders in Moscow, Idaho, has revealed that she has gotten a new tattoo paying tribute to her slain friends.

Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, were stabbed to death in an off-campus home that the three women shared in Moscow back on 13 November.

Two other roommates were home at the time of the murders but were left unharmed.

Police said they were in the first floor of the house and are believed to have slept through the attack. The housemates, two other female University of Idaho students, have been ruled out as suspects.

One of the surviving housemate shared a photo of a new tattoo on her arm on her VCSO account this week.

The tattoo features anglel wings and the initials of her four murdered friends: “MKXE”.

The arm of a second person is also in the photo with the same tattoo.

The tattoo in tribute to the four victims


Rachel Sharp26 November 2022 01:00


Details of Moscow’s last notorious murder

The safe, small college town of Moscow has not seen a murder since seven years ago – and the town has only seen a handful of others in living memory.

The town’s most famous murder, up until last week, was the December 1969 killing of 18-year-old waitress Janice Foiles.

The waitress was bludgeoned to death at what was then the Tip Top Cafe.

That case also remains unsolved.

Rachel Sharp26 November 2022 00:40


Last known movements: Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin

Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin spent the night of 12 November at a party at Sigma Chi.

The frat house is built into the hill and slopes upward, facing Nez Perce Drive, which winds through campus and passes the arboretum, just a short walk further uphill.

The grounds of the UI Arboretum and Botanical Garden are sweeping, beautiful and back up onto Taylor Road, just a block from the girls’ house, which you have to cross to get to Sigma Chi. That same road winds west pass the arboretum, up into a hilly residential neighbourhood; to the east, it intersects with Highway 95.

Police have specifically asked for surveillance footage from areas around the highway and the arboretum.

Xana and Ethan returned to King Road around the same time as Kaylee and Maddie. It is unclear where they were between 9pm and 1.45am; the area would have been busy at that time, surrounded by other student accommodation, as other young people headed home, too. The bars close at 2am.

Sheila Flynn reports from on the ground in Moscow

Rachel Sharp26 November 2022 00:20


Last known movements: Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen

Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen spent the night of 12 November at a bar in downtown.

The best friends arrived at Corner Club on Main Street by 10.30pm. The bar is low-slung hotspot with its own party bus that’s a “staple in the town,” according to UI senior Dylan Bartels, 22.

It has a wide customer base but is particularly popular with members of fraternities and sororities, students tell The Independent. Like many colleges in the Greek system, there is a big divide between Greek and non-Greek social life, the students said, but there’s no palpable animosity and everyone tends to co-exist amicably. Maddie, Xana and another roommate were members of Pi Beta Phi; Kaylee pledged with Alpha Phi.

Kaylee and Maddie, both blonde and bubbly, were dressed in college bar casual – Kaylee in stonewashed ripped jeans and an Idaho sweatshirt, Maddie in a black jacket, darker denim jeans and black shoes. They spent around three hours at Corner Club at the northern edge of Main Street; by the time they left, the streets were swarming with other college kids looking for food and rides as they ended the night.

The pair walked straight down Main Street to a red brick building that used to host the now-defunct Garden Lounge; a favourite food truck, Grub Wandering Kitchen – fondly called Grub Truck by its many local fans – often parks outside on Main Street.

Kaylee and Maddie ordered, laughed and chatted with friends as they got their pasta carbonara; according to police, they got a lift home from a “private party” and returned to King Road around 1.45am.

Sheila Flynn reports from on the ground in Moscow

Rachel Sharp26 November 2022 00:00


Victim’s family say killer left ‘mess’ of evidence

The investigation into the killing of four University of Idaho students is moving slowly because the killer left behind a “mess” of evidence, according to one of the victim’s parents.

Steve and Kristi Goncalves, whose daughter Kaylee was among the four killed at an off-campus house in the early hours of 13 November, said they’ve heard from police that the crime scene is sprawling and chaotic.

“They’re telling us that there’s so much evidence that it’s going to take a lot of time to process it all,” Mr Goncalves told Fox News. “This wasn’t like a pinpoint crime. This person was sloppy.”

The parents also shared their final memories of Kaylee, whom they described as a bright and ambitious young woman who had recently bought her first car, and was planning a backpacking trip to Europe in January ahead of beginning a new job.

The Goncalves family said Kaylee was a “street wise” individual who was always aware of her environment, including filming anything she thought was suspicious.

Rachel Sharp25 November 2022 23:40


What happened during the victims’ final hours?

The University of Idaho campus had been busy the day before the murder, Sheila Flynn reports.

The Vandals had prepared for a home game against the UC Davis Aggies in the 16,000-seat Kibbie Dome, unaware of the dark cloud that would linger over the town of just 25,000 for days to come.

Sheila writes: “Kaylee Goncalves and Maddie Mogen, both 21 and childhood best friends, were heading together to the bars downtown. Xana Kernodle, 20, was planning to hang out with her boyfriend, 20-year-old Ethan Chapin.”

Less than 12 hours later, they all had been killed.

The Independent has a detailed account of the victim’s final hours:

Rachel Sharp25 November 2022 23:20


Moscow police share photo of cake as they work through Thanksgiving

Moscow police have shared photos of a cake sent by local residents to investigators on the quadruple murders case as they worked through Thanksgiving to try to solve the crime.

The department posted images on their social media page on Thursday, saying that local “residents have shown up in force with signs of support”.

“As of 9:00 p.m. this evening, there were still several members of our law enforcement investigative team working. Many of our detectives from partnering agencies are from out of state, missing time with their families this Thanksgiving,” the department said.

“Our Moscow residents have shown up in force with signs of support and delivered an amazing feast of food (photos are just a few of the fixings), giving these detectives a sense of home away from home. Thank you!

“Please keep Ethan, Madison, Xana, and Kaylee in your thoughts. Knowing that their families are missing a loved one today drives us to work even harder to find the answers they deserve… it’s what our community deserves. #MoscowStrong”

This comes as police have faced criticism over their handling of the case, with no suspects named and no arrests made 12 days on.

Rachel Sharp25 November 2022 23:00


Guns, deadbolts and a mass student exodus: Terror grips Idaho college town after quadruple murder

Moscow Lock Shop can’t keep up with the demand for deadbolts.

The calls started coming in just hours after police discovered four University of Idaho students fatally stabbed on 13 November. Then the phone started ringing even more; by Thursday, the number of calls had reached 50 in a day.

“If you imagine that there’s two of us working, and then we’re going out and actually doing calls, and there’s 50 phone calls in one day … we’re not getting them all done,” locksmith Casper Combs, 28, tells The Independent, pointing out that it takes about an hour to install each deadbolt.

The Lock Shop has a waiting list “past Thanksgiving, that’s for sure,” he says. Most of the calls come from landlords and scared parents of students at UI, which is less than a mile away – “typically moms who are worried about their kids.”

The Independent’s Sheila Flynn reports from the on the ground in Moscow:

Guns, deadbolts and mass student exodus: Terror grips Idaho town after murders

Parents are ordering deadbolts, teens are asking for guns and the streets are empty in Moscow. There is a killer – or killers – on the loose, ten days after four college students were murdered in their beds. Locals tell Sheila Flynn how fear is deepening as time goes by without any arrests and with little information from police

Rachel Sharp25 November 2022 22:40


Mother of murdered Oregon man says her ‘heart breaks’ for Idaho victims’ parents

The grieving mother of a 26-year-old man murdered in Oregon last year has said that her “heart breaks” for the parents of the four University of Idaho student after it emerged that police are probing a potential tie between the two cases.

Back on 13 August 2021, Travis Juetten, 26, and his wife Jamilyn Juetten, 24, were woken at around 3am when a masked assailant broke into their home in Oregon, entered their bedroom and stabbed them both multiple times with a knife.

Travis tried to fight off the attacker but was stabbed to death. Ms Juetten was stabbed 19 times but miraculously survived, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.

Despite Travis’ family putting up a $50,000 reward for information leading to the killer, 15 months on, the case remains unsolved.

This week, similarities were drawn between the knife attack on the young couple and the 13 November stabbing murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, 400 miles away in Moscow.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Moscow Police Chief James Fry was asked about a potential link between the two cases.

He confirmed that the Oregon killing is on their radar in Idaho and that investigators are probing a possible tie.

Having lost her son in tragically similar circumstances, Myra Juetten told The Independent on Thursday that her “heart breaks” for the parents of the four victims in Idaho.

“My heart breaks for the parents of these four young adults,” she said.

“It’s very, very hard to lose a child so brutally with no answers. My heart breaks for them.”

For Ms Juetten, having to spend the last year knowing her son’s killer is still out there is “a nightmare”.

“It’s awful. It’s our worst nightmare. It’s very hard on the entire family as there is a killer out there,” she said.

Rachel Sharp25 November 2022 22:20

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