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A sixth person may have also lived in the home where four University of Idaho students were brutally murdered in their beds, it has now been revealed.
Moscow Police said in a statement on Thursday that a sixth individual is listed on the lease for the three-storey home but that investigators “do not believe that individual was present during the incident”.
The identity of that person has not been publicly released and it is not clear when they lived at the property.
The Independent has reached out to Moscow Police for further details including whether or not the individual has been ruled out as a suspect in the horrific murders.
The shocking revelation about a sixth potential roommate comes after authorities previously said only five people lived at the home on King Road in Moscow, Idaho – victims Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen and Xana Kernodle along with two other roommates who survived the attack.
The large property has six bedrooms across three floors and is located just feet from the University of Idaho campus.
Goncalves, Mogen, Kernodle and Kernodle’s boyfriend Ethan Chapin were all stabbed to death in the home in the early hours of 13 November.
Two of the victims’ bodies were found on the third floor and the other two on the second floor.
Two surviving roommates – who have not been publicly named by authorities – were asleep in their first floor bedrooms at the time of the attack and were left unharmed. They are believed to have slept through the brutal murders.
Now, 19 days into the investigation, detectives are wrapping up their work at the crime scene – despite the killer still being at large.
Some of the first results from forensic testing have started coming back from the crime lab though officials have not revealed whether or not any DNA was found at the scene from individuals other than the victims and their roommates.
On Thursday, Moscow Police said that “specific results” will be kept under wraps in order to “protect the investigation’s integrity”.
Officials also tried to settle the confusion around whether or not the killings are believed to have been “targeted”.
In a statement to The Independent about contradictory statements made in recent days, a police spokesperson said that officials do still believe the murders were “a targeted attack”.
“Our clarification last night directly addressed comments made by Latah County Prosecutor Thompson, who said the suspect(s) specifically looked at this residence, and that one or more of the occupants were undoubtedly targeted,” the statement read.
Two cars and a police vehicle sit outside the home where four University of Idaho students were murdered on 13 November
“We remain consistent in our belief that this was indeed a targeted attack but have not concluded if the target was the residence or its occupants.”
Officials sparked confusion around the unsolved murders this week when they gave conflicting accounts of whether or not one or more of the victims was “targeted” in the brutal attack.
In an interview on Tuesday, Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson appeared to walk back the longstanding belief that the killings were targeted, saying that it was “perhaps not the best word to use”.
Mr Thompson added that investigators were unable to confirm “at this point” if one or more of the students was the intended target.
On Wednesday, he then gave a different interview where he said that the “attack was intended for a specific person”.
Hours later, Moscow Police released a “clarification” saying that they actually “do not currently know” if the killer specifically targeted the victims or the off-campus home and accusing the local prosecutor of “miscommunication”.
“Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but continue to investigate,” the statement said.
This so-called clarification only added to the confusion around the case as it appeared to contradict several earlier statements made by officials.
Ever since the four students were stabbed to death on 13 November, investigators have described the attacks as “targeted”.
They have used the phrase in multiple press conferences and media interviews all the while refusing to reveal what has led them to that conclusion or whether only one of the victims was the intended target – with the others simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In the early days of the investigation, Moscow Police even went as far as to insist that there was “no imminent threat” to the wider community because it was “an isolated, targeted attack” – despite having no suspects even on their radar.
Three days on from the killing, they then walked back that assertion, admitting that – with the perpetrator still at large – “there is a threat” and urging the public to stay “vigilant”.
In the last press conference given on the case last week, Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier doubled down on the belief that the victims were “targeted”, telling the public that “you’re going to have to trust us on that”.
“We’ve told the public very clearly from the beginning that we believe it was a targeted attack,” he said.
Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, pictured together hours before they were killed
“To be honest, you’re going to have to trust us on that at this point, because we’re not going to release why we think that.”
In Thursday’s statement, investigators are standing by the belief it was “targeted” but say that they are yet to determine what or who the intended target was.
Investigators continue to be stumped by the case, with no arrests made, no suspects identified and the murder weapon still not found 19 days on from the murders.
On the night of 12 November, Kernodle and Chapin were at a sorority party at Sigma Chi house together and arrived back at the home at around 1.45am.
Goncalves and Mogen had spent the night at The Corner Club bar in downtown Moscow, before stopping by a food truck and then getting a ride home from an unnamed “private party” to arrive at the property at around 1.56am.
The two surviving roommates were also out that night and arrived home at around 1am, police said.
At around 3am or 4am, an unknown assailant stabbed the four victims to death with a fixed-blade knife, police said. There was no signs of sexual assault on any of the victims.
The horrific crime scene went unnoticed for several more hours, with police receiving a 911 call at 11.58am on Sunday, reporting an “unconscious individual” at the home.
The two other roommates had first called friends to the home because they believed one of the second floor victims was unconscious and would not wake up. When the friends arrived, a 911 call was made from one of the roommates’ phones.
Police arrived on the scene to find the four victims dead from multiple stab wounds.
Several people have been ruled out as suspects: the two surviving housemates, the man who was caught on camera with Mogen and Goncalves at a food truck in the downtown area before they headed home on the night of the slayings, the person who gave Mogen and Goncalves a ride home from the food truck, Goncalves’ former long-term boyfriend and the friends who were in the home when the 911 call was made have all been ruled out as suspects.