Idaho murders: Forensic analysts say ‘incel’ suspect angle premature but should not be ignored


Four Dead University of Idaho
This July 2022 photo provided by Jazzmin Kernodle shows University of Idaho students Xana Kernodle, right, and Ethan Chapin on a boat on Priest Lake in Idaho. Both students were among four found stabbed to death in an off-campus rental home on Nov. 13. Jazzmin Kernodle/AP

Idaho murders: Forensic analysts say ‘incel’ suspect angle premature but should not be ignored

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While a suspect has not been identified or arrested in the murder of four University of Idaho students, forensic analysts are saying law enforcement should not rule out that the suspect may be an involuntary celibate, but that it is premature to confirm the theory.

Involuntary celibate, or “incel,” is a misogynistic subculture of men who are romantically frustrated at not being able to find a partner, often blaming women and lashing out online.


University students Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were murdered in their beds early on Nov. 13, and each was stabbed in both the chest and upper body with a large knife. Police found their bodies after a 911 call was placed from one of the women’s roommates.

Moscow police have not released a profile relating to the killer, stating that it could damage their investigation. However, authorities said they believe the homicide to be a targeted attack.

Sarah Daly, a criminology researcher at Saint Vincent College who has studied incels, reminded people in an interview with Fox News that it is premature to say the killer comes from the incel community. However, she said the circumstances surrounding the murders could lead to that conclusion.

Forensic psychologist Kris Mohandie also said the level of violence and hatred involved with the crime shows an “obvious hostility in such a personal, hands-on attack.”

“That is a lot of intensity,” Mohandie said. “So, it is not inconsistent with somebody that may have that kind of motivation. There’s something hateful and rage-filled about it.”

The women were friends and all lived together, and Chapin and Kernodle were in a relationship. Mohandie and Daly both said the lifestyle of the victims, plus the personal relationships they held with each other and other friends, could make them targets for incels.

“These are kids, adult kids, living their life, experiencing happiness, being spontaneous and carefree,” Mohandie said. “And that’s going to stimulate somebody that either felt entitled to have had a relationship with one or more of them. For individuals that feel on the outside looking in … that’s going to create envy and hate.”

James Fitzgerald, a former FBI criminal profiler, added that while some incels are violent, the vast majority of incels are not. Fitzgerald said that it is probable that the Idaho investigators are looking into or have looked at this angle already.

Moscow police continue to state in their press releases that, while they understand the level of fear and questions surrounding the homicides, they urge the public to only listen to updates from police and to not rely on rumors circulating in the media.

“There is speculation, without factual backing, stoking community fears and spreading false facts. We encourage referencing official releases for accurate information and updated progress,” a press release stated.


Authorities are asking the public to submit any information that could be relevant to the murders by calling 208-883-7180 or emailing [email protected].

A vigil for the four students is being held on Wednesday night at the University of Idaho campus.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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