Four University of Idaho students were killed in Moscow, Idaho, and authorities are investigating the deaths as a homicide.
“These individuals have been identified as Ethan Chapin, 20, Conway, WA; Madison Mogen, 21, Coeur d’Alene, ID; Xana Kernodle, 20, Avondale, AZ ; and Kaylee GonCalves, 21, Rathdrum, ID,” Moscow, Idaho, police wrote in a statement.
On December 30, 2022, a graduate student in criminology named Bryan Kohberger was taken into custody and accused of the murders.
“All four victims were students at the University of Idaho. Please respect the privacy of the victims’ family, friends, and loved ones as the Moscow Police Department investigates this tragic event.” The cause of death was not released.
Chief James Fry with the Moscow Police Department said in a news conference on November 16, 2022, said it was a “horrible crime” that took the students’ lives.
Ethan and Xana were at a party on campus. Madison and Kaylee were at a downtown bar. They arrived home sometime after 1:45 a.m. “If anyone has any information about these times or the victims’ whereabouts, authorities ask them to call police.
“We know these homicides occurred in the early morning hours.” Authorities received a call around noon and found the bodies inside the resident on King Road. “The four were stabbed with a knife, but no weapon has been located at this time,” Fry said, adding that there was no sign of forced entry into the resident. Authorities are working to establish a timeline and autopsies are being conducted.
He called it an isolated, targeted attack, but he said they don’t know who the suspect is and thus can’t say there is no risk to the community.
There is a GoFundMe page set up to help the families of GonCalves and Mogen, who were close friends.
“The Vandal community lost four incredible people. Kaylee held a very special place in my heart as my sorority little. I will forever cherish our friendship and all of the amazing memories we made together. 👼🏼💛✨ ” a woman who shared the GoFundMe wrote.
You can see photos for each victim in this article. The suspect and motive are not yet clear.
Here’s what you need to know:
In an Update, Police Revealed More Information About the Victims’ Whereabouts the Night of the Murders
Police Chief James Fry said in a November 20, 2022, press conference that the murders have shaken the community. He called it a “complex and terrible” crime that would take time to resolve.
Moscow police Capt. Roger Lanier said in the news conference that on the evening of November 12, Goncalves and Mogen were at a local bar and then a food truck in downtown Moscow, arriving home at 1:45 a.m. Kernodle and Chapin arrived home from a frat party at the same time. At 1 a.m., the two surviving roommates returned from other places in the community and did not wake up for some time.
The 911 call was made just before noon and was placed by the phone of one of the surviving roommates. The cause and manner of death was homicide by stabbing. It was likely they were all asleep during the attack. Each was stabbed multiple times, and some had defensive wounds. There was no sign of sexual assault.
Investigators have determined two areas of interest in the city, canvassing them for additional surveillance video and tips.
According to Lanier, the two surviving roommates, a male seen at the food truck wearing a white hoodie, a private party who provided rides home to Kaylee and Madison in the early morning hours. “Additionally, the identity of the 911 caller and the 911 call have not been released,” Lanier said.
He said investigators were aware that multiple phone calls from Kaylee and Madison phones to a male. They were not tied and gagged, police said. Detectives seized the contents of three dumpsters but did not find anything, according to the police news conference. Detectives have not located a weapon, according to the news conference..
Police said the “totality of the circumstances” leads them to believe it’s a targeted crime but they aren’t able to say who was targeted specifically because of the ongoing investigation.
They don’t believe the 911 caller was the killer, the news conference revealed.
On November 18, 2022, Moscow police gave additional details about the bar and party attended by the victims the night of their murders. They also indicated that they don’t believe a man seen in a food truck video or the victims’ surviving roommates are the killer/killers. They wrote:
**Update** Through further investigation, MPD learned Kaylee and Madison used a private party for a ride home from Grub Truck at approximately 1:40 a.m.
The Moscow Police Department is providing the following information to update the public on the known facts surrounding the four murders that occurred on November 13th in Moscow, Idaho.
On the evening of November 12th, Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen were at a local bar called The Corner Club at 202 N. Main Street, in downtown Moscow, between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. on November 13th. At approximately 1:40 a.m., Kaylee and Madison were seen on video at a local food vendor called the ‘Grub Truck’ at 318 S. Main Street and used a private party for a ride home from downtown to arrive at their 1122 King Road residence at 1:45 a.m.
Investigators have determined that Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were seen at the Sigma Chi house on the University of Idaho Campus at 735 Nez Perce Drive. At approximately 1:45 a.m., Ethan and Xana are believed to have returned to the residence at 1122 King Road. It was previously reported that Ethan resided at the home; however, it has been determined that he was only visiting.
Two other roommates were at the residence that night.
On November 13th, at 11:58 a.m., officers responded to the residence after a 911 call reported an unconscious individual. Upon arrival, officers discovered Kaylee, Madison, Xana, and Ethan deceased inside the residence.
Autopsies were conducted on November 17th. The Latah County Coroner confirmed the identity of the four murdered individuals and their cause and manner of death as homicide by stabbing. The coroner stated that the four victims were likely asleep, some had defensive wounds, and each was stabbed multiple times. There was no sign of sexual assault.
At this time in the investigation, detectives do not believe the two surviving roommates or the male in the Grub Truck surveillance video are involved in this crime. Additionally, online reports of the victims being tied and gagged are not accurate. The identity of the 911 caller has not been released.
As part of the investigation, detectives seized the contents of three dumpsters on King Road to locate possible evidence. Additionally, detectives have contacted local businesses to determine if a fixed-blade knife had been recently purchased.
At the time of this release, detectives have received nearly 500 tips which are being processed, investigated, and cleared. Thirty-eight interviews have been conducted with individuals who may have information about the murders. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call 208-883-7180 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Moscow Police Department is utilizing assistance from the Idaho State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Latah County Sheriff’s Office.
Moscow Police Department:
• 4 Detectives
• 24 Patrol Officers
• 5 Support Staff
Federal Bureau of In Investigators:
• 22 investigators in Moscow
• 20 assigned agents located out of Treasure Valley, ID, Salt Lake City, Utah, and West Virginia
• 2 Behavior Analysis Unit
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
Currently, there are no suspects in custody, and the weapon has not been found.
Anyone who observed suspicious behavior, has video surveillance, or can provide relevant information about these murders, is asked to call the Tip Line at 208-883-7180 or email email@example.com.
The Moscow Police Department thanks our community for their continued support, understanding of the limited information we can share, and patience during this difficult time.
Police Say an ‘Edged Weapon’ Was Used to Commit the Homicides
On November 15, 2022, police revealed that a knife was used in the murders. They also said all of the victims died of homicide, meaning that none of the deaths was a murder-suicide. Police wrote:
On November 13, 2022, at 11:58 hours, Moscow Police Department Officers responded to a call on King Road for an unconscious individual. Upon arrival, officers discovered four individuals who were deceased. The deaths have been ruled to be homicide.
Although no weapons have been located, based on preliminary information, investigators believe that an edged weapon such as a knife was used. Autopsies are scheduled to be completed later this week and will hopefully provide more definitive information on the exact cause of the deaths.
Also, based on information from the preliminary investigation, investigators believe this was an isolated, targeted attack and there is no imminent threat to the community at large.
The cause of death was homicide by stabbing.
Investigators are continuing to work diligently on establishing a timeline of relevant events to re-create the victims’ activities on the evening of November 12 and early morning of November 13, following all leads and identifying persons of interest.
The mayor Art Bettge, told Fox News that the motive is not clear and could range from a “burglary gone wrong” to a “crime of passion.”
The Mad Greek restaurant posted a tribute to two of the victims, who worked there:
It is with a broken heart and deep sadness to share with you that we have lost two of our own here at Mad Greek.
Xana and Maddie have been servers here for several years and brought so much joy to our restaurant and all of those they encountered. Maddie was also the face behind our social media pages.
With this incredible loss, we have shut down to process and grieve.
Our deepest sympathies go out to all of the friends and families of Xana, Maddie, Ethan and Kaylee.
We as a team offer our support to anyone in need at this time. ❤️
-Jackie and all of the Mad Greek Family
You will be greatly missed. Thank you for being a part of our family/team and for helping me so much over the years. Until we meet again. Love, The Worlds Best Boss 💕
Moscow police have not released many details. According to Fox News, the home is about 500 feet from the Sigma Chi fraternity, which Chapin, one of the victims belonged to.
“On November 13, 2022, at 11:58 hours, Moscow Police Department Officers responded to a call on King Road for an unconscious individual. Upon arrival, officers discovered four individuals who were deceased,” Moscow, Idaho, police wrote in a press release.
The Moscow Police Department and the City of Moscow are “deeply saddened for the families of these individuals, fellow students and friends, and our community during this time. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to each and every person affected by this incident,” police wrote in the press release.
The mayor called the deaths a “crime of passion,” according to The New York Times.
Police Ruled Out a Mysterious Man Who Stood Behind Two of the Victims at a Food Truck
Journalist John Webb posted the video to Twitter. “Twitch video from a Moscow food truck shows who appears to be two victims, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, just hours before the slayings,” he wrote.
The video shows people milling around outside the truck before Mogen and Goncalves approach it to buy food. One of the students walks away. A man in a baseball hat puts his hoodie up and stands there behind one of the victims.
When the victims walk away from the food truck, the man follows them and stands nearby. Again, it’s not clear whether he has anything to do with the murders.
Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson told WIVB-TV that authorities want to create a timeline of what the victims were doing leading up to the murders. That’s where the Twitch video comes in.
“They’re in the process of identifying the other people who were there,” at the food truck, Thompson said to WIVB, “and what sort of contact did they have.”
Police later said in a statement posted to their website that man was not considered a suspect in the case.
The Victims Filled Their Instagram Pages With Pictures Enjoying the Outdoors & Friendships
View this post on Instagram
People filled Mogen’s last Instagram post comment thread with tributes and lamentations. “You deserve justice, peace, and power. I hope your loved ones, friends, and community can receive the same,” wrote one.
“my heart is broken for the entire idaho community and college students nationwide. so many tragedies. rest in peace ❤️,” wrote another.
Goncalves’ last Instagram post showed her with friends a day before her murder and read, “one lucky girl to be surrounded by these ppl everyday 🤍”
View this post on Instagram
In May, GonCalves wrote a post about Mogen. She wrote, “swipe to watch me and @maddiemogen grow up together!! happy 21st maddie may🤍 I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to be the main character in all my childhood stories. see you at the bars in 14 days, 14 minutes, and 14 seconds, i love you!!!”
GonCalves’ family released a statement to CBS News. “Kaylee was, is, and will always be our defender and protector,” the family wrote “… She did absolutely everything she set her mind to. She didn’t hold back on love, fights, or life.” The family asked people not to spread “harmful rumors” about the murders.
View this post on Instagram
Chapin’s most recent post on Instagram showed him with Kernodle, and read, “Freshman year in a nutshell.”
View this post on Instagram
Kernodle’s last Instagram post showed her with Chapin. “Happiest of birthdays to @ethanchapin4 ❤️ life is so much better with you in it, love you!” it read.
View this post on Instagram
Chapin was a triplet, according to GSkagit.com. He studied in the Conway School District through eighth grade and went to Mount Vernon High School, the site reported.
The university said:
The students were: Ethan Chapin, a freshman from Mount Vernon, Washington, and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity majoring in recreation, sport and tourism management in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences; Xana Kernodle, a junior from Post Falls majoring in marketing in the College of Business and Economics and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority; Madison Mogen, a senior from Coeur d’Alene majoring in marketing in the College of Business and Economics; and Kaylee Goncalves, a senior from Rathdrum majoring in general studies in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.
Kohberger Was Taken Into Custody in Pennsylvania
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The motive is not yet clear.
Kohberger was taken into custody in Pennsylvania on December 30, 2022, court records show.
Moscow School District Superintendent Greg Bailey wrote parents and guardians:
We are saddened to hear of the four University of Idaho students who lost their lives so tragically this past weekend. Our hearts go out to the University of Idaho Community and the families of those four students on this day of remembrance.
The Moscow School District, with the assurance of the Moscow Police Department, will be holding classes as usual today.
The mayor told Fox news that the crime happened between 3 and 4 a.m.
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