Moscow police share little new information on U of I killings, address stalker story
Angela Palermo, Idaho Statesman
MOSCOW (Idaho Statesman) — Authorities investigating the deaths of four University of Idaho students still don’t have a suspect in custody and released almost nothing new about the killings at a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Moscow.
Police gave a broad outline of the investigative steps being taken, including collecting DNA and photographic evidence from the home where the victims were found.
The four victims in the killings early Nov. 13 were U of I seniors Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, who were close friends; and junior Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls; and freshman Ethan Chapin, 20, of Mount Vernon, Washington, who were dating. The three women lived in the house, while Chapin was staying overnight with Kernodle.
Moscow Police Chief James Fry declined to say whether the attacker visited the first floor of the three-story rental house where two surviving roommates were during the attack. Two of the four slain students were on the second floor and two on the third, police have said.
Police also would not answer many other questions, pointing out that they need to “maintain the integrity” of the investigation and simply won’t be providing some information to the public.
The news conference was the third one authorities have held since the four students were fatally stabbed. Detectives plan to work on the case through Thanksgiving, police said.
They addressed some social media stories and rumors on Wednesday, largely concerning a possible stalker of one of the victims, Goncalves. Police said they have looked “extensively” into that information after conducting interviews and have not been able to verify or identify a stalker, but they encouraged anyone with new information to step forward.
- Police repeated much information about the night the students were killed and the investigation:
- Kernodle and Chapin had been at the Sigma Chi fraternity house — at a party, police said previously — before returning home at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday. Moden and Goncalves had been at a local bar and, later, a downtown Moscow food truck before returning home, also about 1:45 a.m.
- The house’s two other tenants had returned about 1 a.m. and did not wake up until the the morning, long after the attack.
- Multiple calls were made “from Madison and Kaylee’s phone” to a male. (Previously, authorities had confirmed that the calls were made after 2 a.m. and that the man, a friend, was sleeping. Goncalves’ sister, Alivia Goncalvez, said the man was a friend named Jack.)
- When the 911 caller two minutes before noon reported an unconscious person, police arrived to find the four students dead, two on the second floor and two on the third. (Police said separately that the two women who were unharmed were sleeping on the first floor.)
- Autopsies confirmed that they all died from multiple stab wounds and that all were likely asleep when the attacks occurred, though some victims showed defensive wounds, indicating that they awakened to struggle with the attacker. There were no signs of sexual assault, and none were tied or gagged.
- Early in the investigation, police canvassed local businesses to see if any fixed-blade knives had been purchased. The weapon used in the crime still has not been found.
- Detectives searched three nearby dumpsters for evidence, “but nothing of note was discovered.”
Investigators said they are seeking more surveillance from homes and businesses “within the geographical area” of West Taylor Avenue (north boundary), West Palouse River Driver (south), U.S. 95-2700 block (east) and Arboretum and Botanical Garden (west). The target time is 3 to 6 a.m. Nov. 13.