What was the cause of death of the four University of Idaho students who were killed in Moscow, Idaho? How did they die?
Police have confirmed that all of them died of homicide. In other words, there was not a murder-suicide involved. Police have also confirmed that the victims were stabbed. According to Daily Mail, the murders were so brutal that blood was seen oozing out of the home’s wall.
The cause of death was homicide by stabbing, the coroner confirmed after the autopsies were completed.
Authorities were searching for a Rambo-style military knife called a KA-BAR knife, according to journalist Angela Palermo.
“There was blood everywhere,” an investigative source told Daily Mail. “We have investigators who have been on the job for 20, even 30, years, and they say they have never seen anything like this.”
According to KXLY, the coroner says there was a lot of blood and the cause of death was stabbing. At this point, there is no sign that substance abuse contributed to the deaths, the television station reported.
“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.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Say an Edged Weapon, Such as a Knife, Was Used to Kill the Students
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.
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.
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.
Alivea Goncalves, Kaylee’s sister, told the Idaho Statesman:
“They were smart, they were vigilant, they were careful and this all still happened. No one is in custody and that means no one is safe. Yes, we are all heartbroken. Yes, we are all grasping. But more strong than any of these feelings is anger. We are angry. You should be angry.”
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The Mayor Says the Motive May Range From a ‘Crime of Passion’ to a ‘Burglary Gone Wrong’
The motive remains unclear.
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.”
Nothing was stolen, however, from the scene, Daily Mail reported.
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 💕
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.
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.
The mayor told Fox news that the crime happened between 3 and 4 a.m.
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