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University of Idaho murders: News conference Nov. 23

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Moscow Police, Idaho State Police and officials with the university and the city discussed the investigation and the tragedy Wednesday afternoon.

MOSCOW, Idaho — Editor’s note: This afternoon’s news conference has concluded, and is posted above in its entirety.

Ten days after four University of Idaho students were found stabbed to death in an off-campus house in Moscow, police have not identified any suspects or persons of interest. Police and community leaders continue to ask the public for tips — and for patience.

“We believe we owe this to the surviving families to get this right,” Col. Kedrick Wills of Idaho State Police said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Moscow Police, Idaho State Police and the FBI are among the law enforcement agencies investigating what ISP communications director Aaron Snell on Tuesday called “a very complex case.”

In investigations like this, Wills said, after the crime scene is photographed and mapped, and after evidence is collected at the scene, it is packaged and sent to a forensic lab to be analyzed.

“All of this takes an immense amount of time,” Wills said, later adding that as time goes on, investigators are able to process forensic evidence and process the hundreds of tips that have come in.

The students killed were 20-year-old Ethan Chapin, from Conway, Washington; 21-year-old Madison Mogen, from Coeur d’Alene; 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, from Post Falls and 21-year-old Kaylee GonCalves, from Rathdrum. They were found dead at about noon on Sunday, Nov. 13, in a three-story house on King Road, less than a mile from the U of I campus.

Investigators have determined that Chapin and Kernodle had been at the Sigma Chi fraternity house and GonCalves and Mogen had been at The Corner Club before police believe they returned to the King Road location at 1:45 a.m. Chapin did not reside at that home.

Two other students who lived at the house survived the attack. Police believe one of them called 911 at about 11:58 a.m. Pacific time to request aid for an unconscious person. Shortly after the call, Moscow Police responded and found the four victims on the second and third floors of the home. The identity of the 911 caller has not been released.

During Wednesday’s news conference, police urged anyone with information to bring it forward.

“No bit of information is too small, and every tip will be pursued,” Moscow Police Chief James Fry said. “So far, this information has helped investigators build a picture of the areas of interest and the relationships these four had with each other and our community.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the Moscow Police tip line at 208-883-7018 or email

Before and during Wednesday’s upcoming news conference, police said detectives are seeking additional tips and surveillance video of any “observed suspicious behavior” from the night of Nov. 12 into the early morning hours of Nov. 13, while GonCalves and Mogen were in downtown Moscow and while Chapin and Kernodle were at the Sigma Chi house.

Police are seeking any outside surveillance video taken from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST on Sunday, Nov. 13, from businesses and residences within an area bounded by West Taylor Avenue to the north, West Palouse River Drive to the south, Highway 95 to the east and the University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden to the west.

Here are some other notes on the investigation:

  • Investigators have not found the weapon, believed to be a fixed-blade knife. They have looked through trash bins and contacted local business owners to see if someone recently bought such a knife.
  • Police have not taken any suspects into custody.
  • Police do not believe the two surviving housemates at the King Road residence were involved in the crime. They also do not believe a man seen in surveillance video near a food truck in downtown Moscow or the person who drove Goncalves or Mogen home were involved.
  • Detectives have determined that a report of a skinned dog near the house is unrelated to the murders of the students. The Latah County Sheriff’s Office was investigating that incident.
  • Moscow Police have said they haven’t been able to corroborate reports that someone had been stalking GonCalves. Moscow Police Capt. Roger Lanier said detectives “are not done looking into that piece of information.” KTVB reached out to the court clerk in Latah County and asked if any of the victims had filed protection orders. The clerk said because such orders are sealed, there’s no way of knowing.

The University of Idaho is currently on fall break. Classes are scheduled to resume Nov. 28. The university is giving students the option to complete the rest of the semester off-campus. Faculty are preparing in-person and remote teaching options.

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 5 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday, Nov. 30, on the university campus in Moscow. Dean of Students Blaine Eckles said it is currently planned for the lawn outside the Administration building, but the exact location is dependent on weather conditions and has not been finalized.

Also Nov. 30, in sync with the Moscow vigil, the University of Idaho Boise will host a vigil planned for 6 p.m. Mountain time at the University of Idaho Water Center, located at 322 E. Front St.

More resources for students and those wishing to show support are on the University of Idaho website.

Watch more coverage of this story:

Ongoing coverage of the University of Idaho investigation can be found in our YouTube playlist:

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