More information about the brutal murder of four students from the University of Idaho has come to light.
As you may know, police responded to a call about an unconscious person at an off-campus residence in Moscow, Idaho on Sunday. When cops arrived at the scene, they found the dead bodies of multiple people: 20-year-old Ethan Chapin, 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, 21-year-old Madison Mogen, and 21-year-old Kaylee GonCalves.
Details have slowly come out as the Moscow Police Department investigate their deaths – including a potential timeline of the events leading up to the brutal murder. As we previously reported, footage from a Twitch page of the GrubTrucker food truck saw Mogen and GonCalves ordering food at the place on Saturday night and talking with some friends – just hours before the killings.
Police Chief James Fry explained in a press conference on Wednesday that Chapin and Kernodle had been at a party while Mogen and Goncalves were at the bar before they all returned to their home around 1:45 a.m. The four students were then killed “some time in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 13.” Two other roommates were present inside the home at the time but were unharmed.
From the beginning of the investigation, police have been speculating that the attack was “targeted.” Mayor Art Bettge even said “something had occurred that resulted in these deaths” and also speculated it could be a “robbery gone wrong.” However, nothing was seemingly taken from the house. No suspects have been named or arrested at this time.
Now, the findings from the autopsy have been revealed by the Latah County coroner. According to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Cathy Mabbutt confirmed on Thursday that the cause of death was murder by stabbing. While no murder weapon has been found yet, she believes “it would have had to been a large knife” used in their deaths. Speaking with NewsNation on Thursday, the coroner said they were all found in bed with multiple stab wounds:
“It was late at night, or early in the morning, so it seems likely that maybe they were sleeping.”
The fatal wounds had been in the upper torso or chest area. Per the Idaho News, she also backed the police’s initial beliefs, saying the murder was “personal.” She added in the interview with NewsNation:
“It has to be somebody that’s pretty angry in order to stab four people to death.”
Furthermore, she mentioned some of the wounds could have been defensive. However, it was unknown who might have been attacked first. She also told KXLY there was no indication of any sexual assault. Describing the crime scene, Cathy recalled to the outlet how there had been a “fair amount of blood,” noting she never had a horrific case like this in all 16 years of her career:
“I don’t think I’ve had another death by stabbing.”
While it hasn’t been officially determined there were defensive wounds, Kernodle’s father, Jeffrey, told Arizona’s Family that he believes the autopsy showed his daughter tried to fight her killer:
“Bruises, torn by the knife. She’s a tough kid. Whatever she wanted to do, she could do it.”
He added to the outlet that he last heard from Xana at around midnight on Sunday –and nothing seemed out of the ordinary:
“She was fine. … They were just hanging out at home. Xana was just hanging out at home with her boyfriend. Her and Ethan were together about a year, give or take. And she, really, when I went up there she, I saw her just a week before that and she changed a lot. She had a life. She got to see what it was like to have a boyfriend you live with.”
We cannot even imagine what the victims’ families must be going through. Hopefully police can get to the bottom of this tragedy soon.