Kaylee Goncalves was one of the four University of Idaho students who were stabbed to death in Moscow, Idaho.
Her sister told TODAY that Goncalves led a positive life and had a promising future.
“She had everything going for her, absolutely everything,” Alivea Goncalves Stevenson, told TODAY. “She had a job lined up. She’d worked really hard for it. She had trips planned.”
She added: “There was no reason, there is no dark past, there is no dark secret.”
Goncalves died with two of her roommates and her roommate’s boyfriend.
“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.
“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 homicide. The victims were stabbed, according to the coroner.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Goncalves’ Family Says She Was ‘Our Defender & Protector’; Her Sister Said Kaylee ‘Took All the Precautions’
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.
Her sister, Aubrie Goncalves, urged college students to leave town in a lengthy Instagram post:
I have been dreading making this post, but the more attention this gets, the better the chances of finding my sister’s, Kaylee and Maddie, and their sweet friends, Xana and Ethan’s murderer. To the people spreading completely false and irrational rumors— you need to stop. Have some respect, and stop commenting on a situation you know nothing about. My sister and her friends did not overdose. This had nothing to do with drugs, and the accusations that people are throwing at Maddie, Kaylee, and her friends are extremely hurtful to read and see as her little sister. My sisters Kaylee and Maddie, and their friends— Xana and Ethan were murdered. They did nothing wrong, and they took all the precautions they should’ve, and they were still killed. To the students of the University of Idaho that are still staying around campus, leave. Your grades are severely less important than your lives. I wish all the students of U of I safety and peace. You guys are not safe until this sicko is found. If the person who did this is capable of killing four innocent people, they are capable of killing more. The last thing I want is to have another family experience what I, and my family is experiencing now. My family and I will constantly strive to do everything in our power to get Kaylee, Maddie, Xana and Ethan the justice they deserve. I personally ask if you know ANYTHING— no matter how small you think it is to call, and report your information to the number (208-882-COPS). Thank you. To my beautiful sisters, Kaylee Jade and Maddie May, I love you guys so much. I will always look up to you guys. You guys will always be one of the biggest blessings I have ever received. I am so sorry you guys were taken so young. But I promise you guys, I will be the voice you guys will never be able to speak again. I am no longer living for just myself, I am living for you guys as well. And to all four victims, Kaylee, Maddie, Xana and Ethan, I may be young, but I promise each and every one of you, I will do everything in my power to help find, and put your murderer in prison to rot for the rest of their life.
The four students were found murdered in their home off campus. No suspect is in custody. Authorities have said they believe it was a targeted attack, but the motive remains unclear. The students were found deceased around noon on Sunday, November 13, 2022.
The university said in a press release that Goncalves was a senior majoring in general studies.”
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.
2. Goncalves & Mogen, Who Were Close Friends, Were at a Downtown Bar Shortly Before the Murders
Chief James Fry with the Moscow Police Department said in a news conference on November 16, 2022, that a “horrible crime” took the students’ lives.
Ethan and Xana were at a party on campus. Madison and Kaylee were at a downtown bar, he said. 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.
Goncalves’ social media pages, including her Facebook page, reveal that she grew up with Mogen, and they were very close friends.
“We know these homicides occurred in the early morning hours,” Fry said. 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.
3. A GoFundMe Page Says Goncalves Was in a Sorority
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.
Kaylee’s sister told TODAY that she was in the Alpha Phi sorority.
“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.
4. Police Want to Talk to a Mysterious Man Who Stood Behind Goncalves & Mogen at a Food Truck
Journalist John Webb posted a video to Twitter showing Goncalves and Mogen ordering at a food truck not long before the murders. “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.”
Goncalves’ Last Instagram Post Called Her ‘One Lucky Girl’
Goncalves’ last Instagram post showed her with friends a day before her murder and read, “one lucky to be surrounded by these ppl everyday 🤍”
Photos showed her out with friends, with Mogen, and in Cabo.
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!!!”
The motive and suspect are not yet clear.
READ NEXT: More on the Idaho Victims.