Police in Moscow, Idaho, are asking the public to stay vigilant after providing new details about a quadruple homicide near the University of Idaho campus, including that two roommates were in the home where the students were killed at the time of the attack and the door of the home was open when officers responded to the scene.
“We cannot say there’s no threat to the community and as we have stated, please stay vigilant, report any suspicious activity and be aware of your surroundings at all times,” Moscow Police Chief James Fry said during a news conference Wednesday. Police previously said there was no threat to the community.
The new details on the investigation were released days after four University of Idaho students – Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves – were found dead in a bloody crime scene Sunday afternoon, shattering a sense of security for the small college community that sits near the Idaho-Washington border.
Local police have been working with the Idaho State Police and FBI, but still have no suspect, no motive and no weapon, worrying the city of 25,000 that hasn’t recorded a murder since 2015, according to state police data.
The crime has “affected all of us, the families, the University of Idaho, our community, our country and our officers,” Fry said.
“We’re reviewing video that has been collected, but we’re asking citizens to contact us with any information you may have that will help in this investigation,” he added.
Classes were canceled at the University of Idaho Monday but have since resumed, according to Scott Green, university president.
“A number of our students still want to go to class,” Green said Wednesday. “They gain comfort being around other students. They gain comfort from interacting and staying busy with their faculty, and attending classes, labs, some are working on their semester projects, so we’ve heard from them.”
Green said the school is “encouraging students and employees to take care of themselves” as they head into thanksgiving break.
In a statement Wednesday, Green said the school has “continually pushed for as much information as possible, knowing we cannot interfere with the important work of a good investigation.”
“We just want justice for these victims,” he said.
As the investigation continues, police have begun laying out a timeline of what happened in the hours leading up to the killings.
Chapin and Kernodle were at a party on campus Saturday night, while Mogen and Goncalves were at a downtown bar prior to them all returning to the home early Sunday – sometime after 1:45 a.m., Fry said.
Mogen and Goncalves were seen ordering from a late-night food truck in Moscow that night, a live Twitch stream from Grub Truckers shows. The pair approached the truck around 1:41 a.m., placed an order for food and are seen chatting with each other and other people as they wait for their order.
Joseph Woodall, 26, who manages the truck, said the two students didn’t seem to be in distress or danger.
All four victims were killed at some point in the early morning hours Sunday, Fry said, but there was no 911 call until noon. All four victims were stabbed with a knife, he said.
The chief didn’t reveal who called 911 but he said two additional roommates were home at the time of the deaths, neither of whom were injured nor held hostage.
“We’re not just focusing just on them, we’re focusing on everybody that may be coming and going from that residence,” he said.
The two roommates have been fully cooperative with law enforcement, Idaho State Police spokesman Aaron Snell told CNN Wednesday.
After the 911 call about an unconscious person came in, officers found the door to the home open and a gruesome crime scene inside.
There was no evidence of forced entry, Fry said. “We’re not 100% sure the door was unlocked, there was no damage to anything and the door was still open when we got there,” Fry said.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told CNN affiliate KXLY Tuesday there was “quite a bit of blood in the apartment.”
“It was a pretty traumatic scene to find four dead college students in a residence,” she said.
Mabbutt said the autopsies could provide further information about what happened.
“There could be some, you know, some evidence of the suspect that we get during the autopsies which would be helpful,” Mabbutt said.
Just hours before their deaths, Goncalves posted a photo of the foursome with the caption, “one lucky girl to be surrounded by these ppl everyday,” adding a heart emoji.
The 21-year-old from Rathdrum, Idaho, was a senior majoring in general studies and a member of the Alpha Phi sorority.
Her older sister, Alivea Goncalves, sent a statement to the Idaho Statesman on behalf of her family and Mogen’s.
“They were smart, they were vigilant, they were careful and this all still happened,” she said. “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.”
Mogen, 21, was from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and a senior majoring in marketing. She was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.
Chapin, 20, was one of three triplets, all of whom are enrolled at the University of Idaho, his family said in a statement. He was a freshman from Conway, Washington, majoring in recreation, sport and tourism management. He was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
“Ethan lit up every room he walked into and was a kind, loyal, loving son, brother, cousin, and friend,” his mother, Stacy Chapin, said. “Words cannot express the heartache and devastation our family is experiencing. It breaks my heart to know we will never be able to hug or laugh with Ethan again, but it’s also excruciating to think about the horrific way he was taken from us.”
Kernodle, 20, was from Avondale, Arizona. She was majoring in marketing and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.
She was “positive, funny and loved by everyone who met her,” said her older sister, Jazzmin Kernodle.
“She was so lighthearted, and always lifted up a room,” Jazzmin Kernodle said. “She made me such a proud big sister, and I wish I could have had more time with her. She had so much life left to live. My family and I are at a loss of words, confused, and anxiously waiting for updates on the investigation.”
She also offered condolences to the other victims and their families. “My sister was so lucky to have them in her life.”