University of Idaho Suspect: Theories, Clues, Latest Update in Murders

university of idaho suspect

Instagram Who is the University of Idaho suspect? Clues and theories.

Police are still searching for a suspect or suspects in the slayings of four University of Idaho students. But what details have emerged thus far? Here are the latest clues and theories.

Reddit has lengthy threads devoted to clues and suspect theories, which range from a possible stalker to someone rebuffed in a bar to the mysterious “food truck video man” to an angry ex to a random attack by a serial killer. The latter has happened before; Danny Rolling murdered five students in Gainesville, Florida; Ted Bundy targeted college students.

However, in the University of Idaho murders, authorities have said repeatedly that they believe the murders were isolated and targeted attacks, not random. They initially said they did not think the broader community was at risk before walking that back somewhat. But they have not said what leads them to believe this. They haven’t released many details in the case, but some clues have emerged.

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.”

“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. The females lived together in an off-campus home at the University of Idaho. Chapin was dating Kernolde. Authorities said all of the students died of homicide. Thus, a murder-suicide is not a viable theory. They were all stabbed to death while in bed.

The coroner said they were likely asleep when attacked, according to News Nation Now.

Here’s what you need to know:


In the Latest Updates, Police Revealed More Details of the Victims’ Whereabouts

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. Detectives seized the contents of three dumpsters but did not find anything. Detectives have not located a weapon.

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.

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 tipline@ci.moscow.id.us.

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 tipline@ci.moscow.id.us.
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.

In a subsequent update, police revealed:

• At this time, detectives have investigated the private party driver who took Kaylee and Madison home on November 13th and do not believe he is involved in this crime.
• Detectives believe that on November 12th, the two surviving roommates had been out in the Moscow community, separately, but returned home by 1 a.m. The two did not wake up until later on November 13th.
• Initially, the 911 call made at 11:58 a.m. on November 13th requested aid for an unconscious person. The call was made from inside the residence on one of the roommates’ cell phone. Moscow Police Department arrived shortly thereafter and found all four victims.
• Detectives confirm the victims were located on the second and third floors of the residence.
• Detectives are aware of multiple phone calls from victims Madison and Kaylee to a male. This information is part of the ongoing investigation.


Police Haven’t Ruled Out the Possibility of More Than One Suspect

bethany funke

InstagramBethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen with the four victims

It’s still possible that there is more than one suspect. That’s according to the lead prosecutor on the case.

“At this point, the investigators are looking at all possibilities. They don’t have a specific suspect,” Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson told the TODAY Show.

NBC News reported that, according to Thompson, police have not yet ruled out the possibility of multiple suspects.


One of the Victims Fought Back & Had Bruises on Her Hands; Her Dad Says the Front Door Locked With a Code

xana kernodle

InstagramXana Kernodle

Jeffrey Kernodle, the father of victim Xana Kernodle, told AZFamily that he was baffled by the crime.

“I have no idea. It doesn’t make sense,” he said, adding that nothing stood out about that night, and Kernodle was always in contact with her family.

“The door locks with a number code. Every time you go, you have to go around the house because of the number code so they either knew that or went around and maybe found the slider door open,” he explained to AZFamily.

“They were just hanging out at home. Xana was just hanging out at home with her boyfriend,” he said.

He told the site that she fought her killer: “Bruises, torn by the knife. She’s a tough kid. Whatever she wanted to do, she could do it.”

The mother of Jake Schriger the boyfriend of Mogen, spoke to The New York Post.

Jake Schriger’s “world has been turned upside down,” by the murders, his mother told The Post.

Stacy Schriger added to The Post that Madison Mogen and Jake Schriger were very close: “Her and Jake were like peanut butter and jelly.” 


Police Were Looking for a ‘Rambo-Style Knife’

ethan chapin

InstagramThe University of Idaho victims

According to the Idaho Statesman, Moscow police were looking for a “Rambo”-style knife.

Scott Jutte, general manager of Moscow Building Supply, told the Idaho Statesman that police asked him whether he sold “Ka-Bar brand knives, which are also known as K bar knives.”

This account was confirmed by Idaho State Police spokesperson Aaron Snell, who told the newspaper police are looking for “fixed-blade type knives,” not only Ka-Bar knives.

The “military-grade blades” were “originally designed for use by American troops in World War II,” the newspaper reported.


The Victims Were at a Party & Bar That Night

ethan chapin

InstagramEthan Chapin and Madison Mogen

Chief James Fry with the Moscow Police Department gave out some details of the victims’ timeline during a news conference.

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.


City of Moscow, ID Police Department Homicide Investigation Press Conference – November 16, 2022Story Contact: James D. Fry Jr., Chief of Police Phone: (208) 883-7054 Email: jfry@ci.moscow.id.us2022-11-17T00:20:43Z

“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.


Two of the Victims Were Seen in a Food Truck Video

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 student 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 a few feet, the man follows them and stands nearby. Again, it’s not clear whether he has anything to do with the murders.

A Reddit poster observed, “This account starts their streams at 10 PM on Saturday nights and since the girls appeared 3 hours and 43 minutes in, that would place them at this truck around 1:45 AM on Sunday.” The mayor told Fox news that the crime happened between 3 and 4 a.m.

However, as noted, police now say detectives don’t believe this man was involved.


Two Roommates Were Home During the Murders

dylan mortensen bethany fune

Instagram/FacebookDylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke

Idaho State Police spokesman Aaron Snell told ABC News that the two surviving roommates were the “key” to solving the crime because they were home when the murders occurred.

“Potentially they are witnesses, potentially they are victims,” Snell told ABC News, calling the roommates “the key to this whole thing.”

However, Snell told Daily Mail the two are not suspects but police will exhaust every possibility. The motive is not clear.

Yet to Fox News Digital, he said he could not rule them out as suspects even though he described them as cooperative. “These are people who may have seen the crime but on the flip side may have committed the crime,” Snell told Fox News. “We don’t know if they are witnesses, victims or suspects, so until we do a thorough investigation, naming them would be inappropriate.” Authorities have not revealed their theory for why 911 was not called until noon.

ABC News reported that the roommates were home when 911 was called around noon for an “unconscious” person on Sunday November 13, 2022, but the roommates didn’t call 911.

Chief James Fry had revealed in a news conference that the roommates were home at the time. They weren’t held hostage, according to Fry.

As noted, police now say they don’t think the roommates were involved.

Police wrote, “Kaylee mentioned having a stalker, but detectives have been unable to corroborate the statement. Investigators are requesting anyone with information about a potential stalker, or unusual instances, to contact the tip line.”

READ NEXT: More on the Idaho Victims.

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