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The grieving sister of one of the University of Idaho victims stabbed to death in a brutal knife attack has begged other students to “leave” the college town, telling them that “your grades are severely less important than your lives”.
Kaylee Goncalves’s sister Aubrie Goncalves issued an impassioned plea on her Instagram page, warning students in the small town of Moscow, Idaho, that they are not safe while her sibling’s “sicko” killer remains at large.
“To the students of the University of Idaho that are still staying around campus, leave,” she wrote.
“Your grades are severely less important than your lives. I wish all the students of U of I safety and peace. You guys are not safe until this sicko is found.
“If the person who did this is capable of killing four innocent people, they are capable of killing more. The last thing I want is to have another family experience what I, and my family, is experiencing now.”
Her desperate warning comes as the families of victims Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Goncalves, 21, have grown frustrated with the law enforcement response to the shocking murders – after they insisted for days that there was no threat to the public before making a dramatic walk back on those statements.
The four victims were all found dead inside a college home at around midday on Sunday, after police received a mysterious 911 call at midday reporting an “unconscious individual”.
When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered the four friends – all sorority or fraternity members at the college – dead inside the home. There was no sign of forced entry, the front door was open and nothing appears to have been taken, police said.
The three female students lived together at the home with two other students. Chapin was dating Kernodle and was staying the night with her. The two other roommates were present inside the home at the time, but were unharmed.
Autopsy results confirmed that all four victims were stabbed to death, ruling the deaths homicides.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said that each victim was stabbed multiple times with a “large knife”, describing their wounds as “pretty extensive” and revealing that they bled out inside their student home.
Police officers on the scene of the quadruple murders in Moscow, Idaho
She added that she has seen “nothing, nothing like this” in her almost two-decade-long career.
Despite the brutality of the violent slayings, local officials spent three days insisting that there was “no ongoing threat” to the public and that the victims were targeted in a “one-off”, “targeted” attack.
On Wednesday – in the first and only press conference so far given in the high-profile, unsolved case – officials appeared to walk back these comments, admitting that “there is a threat”.
“We still believe it’s a targeted attack, but the reality is, there’s still a person out there who committed horrible, horrible crimes,” said Moscow Police Chief Fry.
“So there is a threat out there still, possibly. We don’t know it’s going to be to anybody else. But we all have to be aware of our surroundings and make sure that we’re watching out for each other.”
Now, five days on, no suspects have been named, no arrests have been made and the murder has not been found.
In Ms Goncalves’s Instagram post, she vowed to get “justice” for her sister and her three friends.
“My family and I will constantly strive to do everything in our power to get Kaylee, Maddie, Xana and Ethan the justice they deserve,” she wrote.
She urged people to stop spreading rumours about their deaths but to instead send any information “no matter how small” to authorities.
“I have been dreading making this post, but the more attention this gets, the better the chances of finding my sister’s, Kaylee and Maddie, and their sweet friends, Xana and Ethan’s murderer,” she wrote.
“To the people spreading completely false and irrational rumors— you need to stop. Have some respect, and stop commenting on a situation you know nothing about. My sisters and her friends did not overdose. This had nothing to do with drugs, and the accusations that people are throwing at Maddie, Kaylee, and her friends are extremely hurtful to read and see as her little sister.
“My sisters Kaylee and Maddie, and their friends— Xana and Ethan were murdered. They did nothing wrong, and they took all the precautions they should’ve, and they were still killed.”
The coroner said that toxicology tests will come back later but that officials do not think they will have any bearing on the case or cause of deaths.
“I personally ask if you know ANYTHING— no matter how small you think it is to call, and report your information to the number (208-883-7180),” wrote Ms Goncalves.
“Thank you. To my beautiful sisters, Kaylee Jade and Maddie May, I love you guys so much. I will always look up to you guys. You guys will always be one of the biggest blessings I have ever received. I am so sorry you guys were taken so young. But I promise you guys, I will be the voice you guys will never be able to speak again.
Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were killed on Sunday
“I am no longer living for just myself. I am living for you guys as well. And to all four victims, Kaylee, Maddie, Xana and Ethan, I may be young, but I promise each and every one of you, I will do everything in my power to help find and put your murderer in prison to rot for the rest of their life.”
Investigators are currently trying to piece together a timeline for what happened and are searching for a military-style Ka-Bar or “rambo” knife they believe to be the murder weapn=on.
Ms Mabbutt told NBC News that the victims were killed “early in the morning, sometime after 2am, but still during the night,” she said.
It has not been possible to determine from the injuries the order in which the four victims were attacked but officials are using “other text messages and other technology” to try to build up a timeline, she said.
On the night of Saturday 12 November, Chapin and Kernodle had been at a campus party while Mogen and Goncalves spent the night at a bar in town.
They are all believed to have returned to the property sometime after 1.45am.
Officials previously said the victims were stabbed to death with an “edged weapon such as a knife” at around 3 or 4am on Sunday morning.
Twitch footage, seen by The Independent, captured Mogen and Goncalves stopping by a local food truck for a late-night bit to eat – not long before the murders unfolded.
The footage shows the two best friends arriving at the food truck at around 1.41am, where they stayed for around 10 minutes ordering food, laughing, and chatting casually to other students at the food truck.
An unidentified man appears to arrive at the truck with them but Mogen and Goncalves leave the area alone.
The two best friends leave together, walking off at around 1.51am.
Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves pictured together before their murders
It is not clear if they got a taxi or walked home after this or if they went to another location. The truck was just over a mile walk from the victims’ home. If Mogen and Goncalves had walked, it would have taken around 20 to 25 minutes.
The unidentified man, who was chatting to another student at the time, was seen in the footage gesturing at the two women as they walk off, before he turns and walks off in the opposite direction to the two women.
Police confirmed that they are looking to speak to the other people in the footage. Neither the man nor anyone else in the footage has been identified as a suspect or person of interest in the case.
DNA samples and nail clipping have also been taken from the crime scene and sent for testing as the hunt for the killer or killers continues.
On Saturday – just hours before their murders – 21-year-old Goncalves had shared photos of the four victims and some of their other friends on her Instagram account.
In one carefree image, the group had their arms around each other, lifted each other on their shoulders and smiled into the camera.
“One lucky girl to be surrounded by these ppl everyday,” Goncalves captioned the post.
Hours later, four of the friends were dead.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about this incident to contact the Moscow Police at 208-883-7054