Two weeks after the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students, dozens of local, state and, federal investigators are still working to determine who carried out the brutal attack.
After sifting through more than 1,000 tips and conducting at least 150 interviews, investigators have yet to identify a suspect or uncover a murder weapon, which is believed to be a fixed-blade knife.
The four students—Ethan Chapin, 20; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Madison Mogen, 21 —were found stabbed to death on Nov. 13 in an off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho. The killings have unsettled the campus community and the town of about 25,000, which has not seen a murder since 2015.
Police believe the attack was targeted. Authorities said they have not ruled out the possibility that more that one person may be involved in the killings.
On the night of the murders, Goncalves and Mogen were at a sports bar, and Chapin and Kernodle were seen at a fraternity party. Two roommates were at the home when police were called to the residence around noon the next day, though investigators do not believe they were involved in the deaths.
More than 260 digital submissions, which could include photos and videos, have been submitted by the public to an FBI tip form, the Moscow Police Department said in a release Friday. The department is asking for any tips or video footage of the places the victims went that night, even if there is no discernible movement or content in them.
“Detectives are also seeking additional tips and surveillance video of any unusual behavior on the night of November 12th into the early hours of November 13th while Kaylee and Madison were in downtown Moscow and while Ethan and Xana were at the Sigma Chi house,” the release said.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little has committed up to $1 million of state emergency funds to assist the ongoing investigation, Idaho State Police Col. Kedrick Wills said during a press conference earlier this week.
Here’s what we know about the investigation.
Extensive Evidence Collected at the Scene
So far, using the evidence collected at the scene and the trove of tips and interviews, investigators have been able to piece together a rough timeline and a map of the group’s final hours.
Investigators believe all four victims had returned to the home by 2 a.m. the night of the stabbings. Two surviving roommates had also gone out in Moscow that night, police said, and returned to the house by 1 a.m.
Police earlier said Goncalves and Mogen returned to the home by 1:45 a.m., but they updated the timeline Friday, saying digital evidence showed the pair returned at 1:56 a.m. after visiting a food truck and being driven home by a “private party.”
The next morning, the surviving roommates “summoned friends to the residence because they believed one of the second-floor victims had passed out and was not waking up,” police said in a release. Somebody called 911 from the house at 11:58 a.m. using one of the surviving roommates’ phones.
“The call reported an unconscious person,” Moscow Police Capt. Roger Lanier said Wednesday. “During that call the dispatcher spoke to multiple people who were on scene.”
When police arrived, they found two victims on the second floor and two victims on the third floor. There was no sign of forced entry or damage, police said.
A coroner determined the four victims were each stabbed multiple times and were likely asleep when the attacks began. Some of the students had defensive wounds, according to the Latah County Coroner.
At least 113 pieces of physical evidence have been collected, about 4,000 crime scene photographs were taken and several 3-D scans of the house were made, according to police. Detectives also collected the contents of three dumpsters on the street in case they held any evidence.
In an effort to locate the murder weapon, investigators contacted local businesses to determine if a fixed-blade knife had been purchased.
Police Dddress Flurry of Rumors
As the weeks stretch on without a named suspect or significant advances in the case, a flurry of rumors has arisen about the killings. Moscow police addressed the issue in a news release Friday and attempted to quash some of the hearsay.
“There is speculation, without factual backing, stoking community fears and spreading false facts. We encourage referencing official releases for accurate information and updated progress,” the release said.
Several people have been ruled out as suspects for the time being, the police department said, including:
- The two surviving roommates
- Other people in the house when 911 was called
- The person who drove Goncalves and Mogen home
- A man seen in surveillance video from a food truck visited by Goncalves and Mogen
- A man Goncalves and Mogen called “numerous times” in the hours before their death
The police also said reports that the victims were tied or gagged are inaccurate and stressed that the identity of the 911 caller has not been released.
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