The four University of Idaho students who were found stabbed multiple times in their off-campus home were ‘likely asleep’ before they were attacked, Moscow, Idaho, police said in a Friday update evening.
In the update, posted on Facebook, authorities released several new details about the gruesome killings that left the university community in shock and grief.
Detectives conducted 38 interviews with people ‘who may have information’ about the murders, according to the update, and took the contents of three dumpsters on the road where the house was located in case there was any proofs. Investigators also asked local businesses if there had been any recent purchases of a “fixed blade knife,” the update said.
No suspects are in custody and the weapon has not been found, police said.
The four students – Ethan Chapin, 20; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Madison Mogen, 21 – were found stabbed to death Sunday at their off-campus joint home near the university.
The victims were found on the second and third floors of the home, Idaho State Police Communications Director Aaron Snell told CNN earlier. Friday.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told CNN she saw “a lot of blood on the wall” when she arrived at the scene. She confirmed there were multiple stab wounds to each body – likely from the same weapon – but did not reveal how many wounds or where most were.
The stab wounds to the hands of at least one victim appear to be defensive wounds, according to Mabbutt. She said there were no signs of sexual assault on the bodies during autopsies.
In their Friday evening update, police said “some” of the victims had defensive injuries.
The University announcement On Friday, a candlelight vigil in memory of the four students will be held on campus on November 30.
“Please join us from where you are, individually or as a group, to help us light up Idaho,” the university’s website said. “Light a candle, turn on the stadium lights, or hold a moment of silence with us as we unite on campus.”
Hoping for guidance from the community, investigators on Friday released a map and timeline of the victims’ movements over the past weekend. The map shows that the four students spent most of the night separated in pairs.
Chapin and Kernodle attended a party in the home of the Sigma Chi fraternity from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. local time on Saturday.
Goncalves and Mogen were at the Corner Club sports bar between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. They went to get food from a food truck at 1:40 a.m. before heading home.
The four victims were back home at 1:45 a.m. Sunday.
Two other housemates were at home at the time of the attack and were found unharmed, Moscow Police Department chief James Fry said earlier this week.
Investigators are speaking with the two surviving roommates, Snell told ABC.
“Potentially they’re witnesses, potentially they’re victims,” Snell said in an interview with ABC’s Kayna Whitworth. “Potentially they are the key to all of this.”
Police said they had no suspects. Snell said no one was “included or excluded as a person of interest and/or suspect.”
In their Friday evening update, police said they “did not believe” the two surviving housemates or a man seen in the food truck surveillance video were involved in the crime.
Autopsies were carried out on November 17, police said Friday evening. The Latah County coroner confirmed the students’ cause and manner of death was stabbing homicide, police said.
The murders, which happened just over a week before the Thanksgiving holiday, have sparked heartbreaking feelings among students as authorities investigate leads to identify a suspect or locate a murder weapon.
The university’s often crowded parking lots had many empty spaces on Thursday after dozens of students decided to go home or leave the area.
“Everyone kind of went home because they’re scared. … It’s definitely uncomfortable on campus right now,” student Nathan Tinno told CNN.
Tinno, who said the community was trying to approach the tragedy with sympathy, added that the fact that no perpetrator was caught up in the case heightened the sense of fear on campus.
“It is so dark. It’s like a dark cloud over everything,” said Ava Driftmeyer. “We are leaving as quickly as possible.”
Driftmeyer, who said he lived near where the four students were killed, described how difficult the situation was to deal with, both mentally and emotionally.
“I don’t even think it’s going to be as planned yet. …You know how crazy that is? And the fact that there are no answers is like the worst feeling ever,” she said.
Police said Wednesday they could not determine with certainty that the public was not a risk, reversing an earlier statement that the attacks were targeted.
“We can’t say there’s no threat to the community,” Fry said Wednesday at a news conference. “And as we said, please remain vigilant, report suspicious activity and be aware of your surroundings at all times.”
The university also reminded students that mental health support is available for them.
“We are all still working despite our grief and a range of emotions. Added to this is frustration and concern that no one has been arrested for these crimes,” university president Scott Green said in a statement.
“Students, you are encouraged to do what is right for you. Whether it’s going home early or staying in class, you have our support,” Green added.
As many details remain unclear, one of the victim’s parents revealed their child’s struggle with the abuser.
Xana Kernodle’s father said he spoke with his daughter at midnight on Sunday, just hours before she was attacked and killed. Citing an autopsy, he said she fought off her attacker until the end.
“Bruises, torn by the knife. She’s a tough kid,” Jeffrey Kernodle told CNN affiliate KPHO/KTVK in Avondale, Arizona.
Kernodle said Xana has remained in regular communication with her family. “I think midnight was the last time we heard from her, and she was fine,” he told the station, adding that he didn’t understand why his daughter and her roommates had been killed. in their own home.
“They were just hanging out at home. Xana was just hanging out at home with her boyfriend,” he said.
Kernodle said the door to the house opened with a digital code.
“So either they knew or they just walked around and found the cursor [sliding door] open,” he told KPHO/KTVK.
Goncalves’ sister, Alivea Goncalves, told ABC World News Tonight that there was a keypad lock on the door and “my sister has always been a door locker.”
But, the sister added, “It was the party house, and it’s been generations, so I won’t say they were very private with that code.”
Just hours before the four students were killed, Goncalves had posted a photo of the group with the caption “a girl lucky to be surrounded by these people every day”, adding a heart emoji.
A TikTok video from Goncalves’ account posted on October 27 shows Goncalves and the other two female victims, Kernodle and Mogen. The video shows the women pretending to be each other in a humorous context, offering insight into their lives.
“This is all so confusing to us because Kaylee isn’t stupid,” Alivea Goncalves told Inside Edition. “She’s a smart girl. She’s a strong girl. She’s a mean girl. She’s a fighter.
Father of one of four University of Idaho victims describes his last interactions with her
The limited information available regarding the case has frustrated those closest to the victims as well as the campus community. Still, a video showing two of the victims helped police get a clearer picture of the hours leading up to the homicides.
In a live Twitch stream from a food truck called Grub Truckers, Mogen and Goncalves were last seen alive ordering $10 worth of carbonara around 1:40 a.m. local time Sunday in Moscow. As they waited for their food for about 10 minutes, they chatted among themselves and with other people standing near the truck.
Joseph Woodall, who runs the food truck, told CNN the two students did not appear to be in distress or danger in any way.
Chapin and Kernodle were at a party on campus Saturday night, Fry said. The four students returned home early Sunday after 1:45 a.m., Fry added.
Later Sunday morning, the four men were killed inside their home, authorities said. Police responded to the residence after receiving a 911 call around noon reporting that someone was unconscious.
Authorities have not released the identity of the 911 caller.
When the police arrived at the house, they entered a gruesome and bloody crime scene.
“It was quite a traumatic scene to find four students dead in a dorm,” Coroner Mabbutt told CNN affiliate KXLY earlier this week.
All four were pronounced dead at noon and police have not disclosed who called 911.
“They were smart, they were vigilant, they were cautious and all of that still happened,” Goncalves’ older sister Alivea said in a statement on behalf of the family to the Idaho statesman.
“No one is in custody and that means no one is safe. Yes, we are all heartbroken. Yes, we are all seized. But anger is stronger than any of those feelings. We are angry. You should be angry.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed information from the authorities to university president Scott Green.