MOSCOW (Idaho Statesman) — The Moscow community is still reeling after a quadruple homicide that took place in the early hours of Sunday morning near the University of Idaho campus.
Making it harder to grasp is that there’s still no suspect. Police said they are investigating any leads that might help them find who committed the crime, which took place at a home on King Road.
Police Chief James Fry said law enforcement hopes to retrace the steps of the victims the night leading up to the killings and find out who had contact with them.
“Investigators are working to develop a timeline of relevant events,” Fry said at a Wednesday news conference.
Fry said that a timeline, along with evidence at the scene, can help find leads to point them toward a suspect.
The four victims were U of I seniors Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum; junior Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls; and freshman Ethan Chapin, 20, of Mount Vernon, Washington.
The Idaho Statesman has put together relevant events from Saturday and Sunday that have been disclosed so far by Fry, other authorities, and family members or others with reliable information, and also included some things of note from this week. We’ll update this timeline as more information becomes available.
SATURDAY, NOV. 12
Starting at 8 p.m.
Chapin and Kernodle, who were dating, were at a party at the Sigma Chi fraternity on campus Saturday night. Chapin was a member of Sigma Chi.
10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Mogen and Goncalves were at the Corner Club bar in downtown Moscow, which describes itself as “dive/sports/local bar.” They took an Uber to the bar, according to Alivea Goncalves, one of Kaylee’s sisters, and also home from downtown.
All arrived home sometime in the neighborhood of 1:45 a.m. Sunday, according to a map provided by the Moscow Police Department.
SUNDAY, NOV. 13
Twitch live stream appeared to show Mogen and Goncalves buying food at a downtown food truck called the Grub Wandering Kitchen, also known as Grub Truck.
Grub Wandering Kitchen usually parks on North Main Street in front of the Garden Lounge, about 0.2 miles south of the Corner Club.
“We are heartbroken, and sending our love to the family and friends of Kaylee, Madison, Xana and Ethan,” the food truck posted on Twitter.
All four students were back at the six-bedroom house on King Road.
The three women, Kernodle, Mogen and Goncalves, lived there with at least two other roommates. Chapin was staying the night with Kernodle.
2 a.m. to 5 a.m.
This is when Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said the homicides occurred. Moscow Mayor Art Bettge previously told the Statesman that police told him they believed the deaths were 3-4 a.m.
Alivea Goncalves, sister of Kaylee Goncalves, said in an interview with TV show “Inside Edition,” that her sister and Mogen called a contact named Jack in her phone several times before they died.
“At 2:26 a.m., Kaylee starts to call Jack,” she said. “Kaylee calls Jack six times between 2:26 a.m. and 2:44 a.m. From 2:44 to 2:52 Maddie calls Jack three times, then Kaylee makes a final call to him at 2:52 a.m.”
Two roommates were home at the time of the killings, police have said. The roommates heard something, according to Chapin’s mother, Stacy, though she did not get into details.
Idaho State Police spokesman Aaron Snell told ABC News on Thursday that the roommates were being cooperative and may be “key” to solving the crime. “Potentially they are witnesses, potentially they are victims,” Snell said. But he added: “We’re not focusing just on them. We’re focusing on everybody that may be coming and going from their residence.”
Moscow police received a call about an unconscious person at a home on King Road near the University of Idaho. Police arrived and found the four students dead.
A friend made the phone call, according to Chapin’s mother. Police have not said who called 911.
The university posted an alert on social media that said police were investigating a homicide on King Road. The post said the suspect was not known and advised students to stay away from the area and shelter in place.
The school put out a second alert saying police did not believe there was an active threat, and the “shelter in place” advisory had been lifted. The alert warned students to “remain vigilant.”
Police confirmed the homicides for the first time in a news release.
”This is an ongoing investigation,” the release said. “Information will be updated as soon as next of kin is notified and we have information we can share. The Moscow Police Department gives our heartfelt condolences to family members, friends and the Moscow community.”
MONDAY, NOV. 14
The Moscow Police Department identified the four victims and confirmed that all four were students at the University of Idaho. The department said in a news release that no one was in custody and repeated that it did not believe there was an ongoing risk to the community.
Moscow Mayor Art Bettge called the event a “senseless act of violence” in a press release. A couple of hours later, Idaho State Board of Education president Kurt Liebech said in a statement that the students were murdered. Around the same time, Idaho football coach Jason Eck spoke about the students and also said they were murdered during a press conference with associate athletic director Jerek Wolcott.
TUESDAY, NOV. 15
Moscow police confirmed in a press release that an “edged weapon such as a knife” had been used to kill the victims but the weapon had not been located. The department continued to tell the community that there was “no imminent threat.”
Ethan Chapin’s mother, Stacey Chapin, told the Idaho Statesman that the four victims died in a stabbing.
“They were stabbed. We got the call,” Chapin said. “I don’t want people to make assumptions about our kids. It wasn’t drugs and it was definitely not some passion thing between these kids. Someone entered the house.”
Latah County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Mikolajczyk told the Statesman that community members were leaving town as a result of the incident. Mikolajczyk said he’d seen students leaving as early as Monday, a week before Thanksgiving break.
Katelyn Hettinga, a senior at U of I, told the Statesman that many university professors canceled classes for the rest of the week and postponed homework assignments.
The FBI confirmed that it was assisting Moscow police with the investigation. An Idaho State Police spokesperson confirmed that the FBI had arrived on Monday and that state police had been assisting Moscow police since Sunday.
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 16
Latah County coroner Cathy Mabbutt told Spokane’s KXLY-TV that preliminary investigations showed the four victims had been stabbed to death.
The Statesman reported that police were searching for a “Rambo-style knife” and had visited several Moscow-area stores inquiring about a variety of combat knives. One of the knives police were asking about was a Ka-Bar, which is a military-grade blade.
“They were specifically asking whether or not we carry Ka-Bar-style knives, which we do not,” said Scott Jutte, general manager of Moscow Building Supply, in an interview.
Moscow and state police, along with university officials, held a joint press conference addressing the media for the first time since the bodies were found on Sunday. Moscow Police Chief James Fry admitted that he “probably should have been standing here a day or so ago.”
Fry also backtracked on the possibility of ongoing danger, saying he could not confirm that there was no threat to the community and that residents should “remain vigilant.”
A handful of new details emerged during the press conference, including that there was no sign of forced entry into the house and that two other women in the house were home and were uninjured.
THURSDAY, NOV. 17
Moscow School District superintendent Greg Bailey told the Statesman that ISP officers had replaced Moscow Police Department officers patrolling the area to free up the Moscow police to work on the investigation. The district announced the news in a Facebook post.
County coroner Mabbutt told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News that the weapon used would have had to have been “a large knife” and that there was a “fair amount of blood.”
Mabbutt confirmed that the stabbings happened in the early hours of Sunday morning, and that DNA samples from clothing, bedding and nail clippings still needed to be tested at a forensics lab.
A report on the autopsies posted to Facebook listed “Homicide — Murder” as the cause of death.
Hundreds of students, staff members and Boise residents gathered for a vigil at Boise State University to honor the lives of the four victims.
Boise State invited students who personally knew the victims to speak. One student read a statement on behalf of a student named Carly, who was said to be a friend of the three female victims.
Idaho State Police spokesperson Aaron Snell told the Statesman that autopsies on the bodies were complete, but contents of the report would not be released to the public.
FRIDAY, NOV. 18
The Moscow police said in a press release that detectives do not believe the two surviving roommates or a male seen in food truck surveillance video are involved with the crime.
Police said “online reports of the victims being tied and gagged are not accurate,” adding that autopsy results showed no sign of sexual assault.
The Moscow Police Department said detectives have seized the contents of three dumpsters on King Road to locate potential evidence, and have received nearly 500 tips and conducted 38 interviews.
TIPS ON RELEVANT INFORMATION
The FBI, Latah County Sheriff’s Office and the Idaho State Police are assisting the Moscow Police Department. Moscow police announced specific numbers of personnel from each agency involved in the investigation on Friday.
The Moscow Police Department
- 4 detectives
- 24 patrol officers
- 5 support staff
Federal Bureau of Investigators:
- 22 investigators in Moscow
- 20 assigned agents located out of Treasure Valley, ID, Salt Lake City, Utah, and West Virginia
- 2 Behavior Analysis Units
Idaho State Police:
- 20 investigators
- 15 troopers
- Public Information Officer
- ISP Forensics Services and mobile crime scene team
- 15 uniformed troopers to assist with community patrols
Detectives are asking anyone who observed suspicious behavior, has video surveillance, or can provide relevant information about these deaths to call the case’s tip line at 208-883-7180. The University of Idaho announced on Twitter that tips can now be emailed to the Moscow police at email@example.com.