The case surrounding the murders of four University of Idaho students is marked by several missing details, including a suspect and a weapon.
As it approaches a month since their deaths, the students’ families and community are still fearful and struggling with the limited information provided by police.
Below is a list by the Washington Examiner tracking the clues, evidence, and questions still to be answered.
The nature of the homicides
Students Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were killed in bed and stabbed in the chest and upper body with a large knife between 3 and 4 a.m. on Nov. 13.
The women all lived together, and Chapin and Kernodle were dating. The women’s two other roommates, Dylan Mortensen, 19, and Bethany Funke, 19, were asleep on the first floor when the four students were attacked on the second and third floors.
The surviving roommates woke up and summoned friends to their home because they believed that one of the second-floor victims had passed out and was not waking up. Police received a 911 call from one of the roommates’ phones at 11:58 a.m. and spoke with multiple people.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt confirmed that the students had died by stabbing, and some had defensive wounds. Each was stabbed multiple times.
Police have not specified if there was more than one killer or how they entered the home, and a weapon has not been located.
Police have been able to track the whereabouts of Mogen and Goncalves in the hours before their deaths but still have a four-hour gap for Chapin and Kernodle.
Mogen and Goncalves were at a local bar, Corner Club, in downtown Moscow from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. They were then captured on video at a local food vendor, the “Grub Truck,” at around 1:40 a.m. They used a private third party for a ride from downtown and returned home at 1:56 a.m.
Chapin and Kernodle are believed to have been at the Sigma Chi house on the university campus from 9 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. before they returned to Kernodle’s residence. However, police are still looking for details regarding the time frame that the couple was at the fraternity house.
Evidence and investigation updates
The following people have been ruled out as suspects, per police:
Roommates Mortensen and Funke Any friends with Mortensen and Funke when the 911 call was placed Male in the Grub Truck surveillance video Private third-party driver who took Mogen and Goncalves home Goncalves’s ex-boyfriend Any individual on the lease that lived at the home before the school year started and was not present at the time of the incident
Close to 6,000 tips through calls, emails, or digital media submissions have been received. Police have collected 113 pieces of evidence and took approximately 4,000 photos of the crime scene, along with multiple 3D scans of the home.
Police continue to ask the public to send in tips, as any information could be relevant to the case.
“Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be the piece of the puzzle that helps investigators solve these murders,” a press release stated.
The information can be shared with the tip line at 208-883-7180 or in an email to [email protected].
Authorities are also asking the community to help track down a vehicle of interest in the murders. Officers are looking to speak to the owner of a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra with an unknown license plate that was in the immediate area of the residence where the students were killed.
“Investigators believe the occupant(s) of this vehicle may have critical information to share regarding this case,” police wrote in a press release.
Police are beginning the process of returning belongings not pertinent to the investigation back to the families. Chief James Fry said he would personally be assisting with the removal of items from the house, which remains an active crime scene.
“It’s time for us to get those things back that really mean something to those families and hopefully to help with some of their healing,” Fry previously said in a video release.
Coverage of the investigation
Moscow authorities have warned the public against speculation and unvetted information and point to their press releases for any updated information. They wrote in a recent statement that they are aware of the “large amount of rumors and misinformation, as well as harassing and threatening behavior toward potentially involved parties” being shared online.
“Anyone engaging in threats or harassment, whether in person, online or otherwise, needs to understand that they could be subjecting themselves to criminal charges,” the statement reads.
Several family members of the slain students, particularly Goncalves’s father, Steve, have spoken out in frustration at the lack of information provided. He has previously stated that his daughter’s wounds are inconsistent with the description police are putting out but did not offer any further evidence to support his claims.
Moscow police have also acknowledged the large amount of speculation about the case, including the cause of death, victim injuries, and investigative techniques, among others.
“We recognize the frustration this causes and that speculation proliferates in the absence of facts,” police stated. “However, we firmly believe speculation and unvetted information is a disservice to the victims, their families, and our community.”