New details have emerged in the mysterious slaying of four college students in Idaho over the weekend.
Police in Moscow, Idaho, said they received a call just before noon on Sunday about an unconscious person in a King Road residence just south of the campus of the University of Idaho. When police arrived, they found the bodies of four dead students. Those students have now been identified: Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Kaylee GonCalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.
There have been conflicting reports about the cities of origin for Kernodle and Chapin. Some outlets have reported that Kernodle was from Avondale, Arizona, while others have reported Post Falls, Idaho. Some have claimed Chapin was from Conway, Washington, others, Mount Vernon, Washington.
Regardless of where the students were from, all of them were brutally attacked with an “edged weapon such as a knife,” police said in a press release on Tuesday. Though a murder weapon has not yet been recovered, police said that stab wounds on the victims indicate that such a weapon was used in the attack, which likely occurred early Sunday morning, perhaps around 3 or 4 a.m.
Police have also assured the public that the brutal murders were “an isolated, targeted attack and there is no imminent threat to the community at large.”
No suspect in the case has yet been publicly identified, and no one has been taken into custody.
Though the university has enhanced campus security, even offering to escort students who feel unsafe to and from class, many students have already left school early for the Thanksgiving holiday. A memorial for the fallen, initially scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed until after the Thanksgiving break.
Meanwhile, friends and family have taken to social media to express their grief and to caution people against speculation.
GonCalves’ older sister, Alivea Stevenson, 26, shared that Kaylee loved her dog and “the way mimosas looked but not really the taste.” Kaylee, one of five siblings, also “didn’t hold back on love, fights or life.”
“She’d never stop fighting for us and demanding the truth and justice and neither will we,” her family insisted.
Chapin, a triplet and the lone male victim in the attack, was publicly memorialized by one of his brothers. Hunter Chapin shared a picture with Ethan, calling him “[m]y brother and my best friend.”
Stacy Chapin, Ethan’s mother, took to Facebook to defend her son and the other victims against rumors that have spread in recent days.
“They were stabbed,” she wrote. “We got the call. 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.”
Moscow Mayor Art Bettge stated on Monday that the murders had been “a crime of passion,” but he has since walked that statement back, claiming now that “a crime of passion” is just one of several possibilities.