Moscow, ID – The four University of Idaho students who were found dead inside an off-campus home on Sunday were murdered using some type of “edged weapon,” investigators confirmed on Tuesday.
The victims have been identified as 20-year-old Ethan Chapin of Mount Vernon, Washington, 20-year-old Xana Kernodle of Post Falls, 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves of Rathdrum, and 21-year-old Madison Mogen of Coeur d’Alene, the Idaho Statesman reported.
No one had been arrested in connection with the quadruple homicide as of Tuesday.
The investigation into the attack began at approximately 11:58 a.m. on Nov. 13, when the Moscow Police Department (MPD) received a report of an “unconscious individual” located at a home on King Road, the MPD said in a press release.
They arrived to the scene to find the four deceased students.
Ethan Chapin’s mother, Stacy Chapin, said that investigators told her all four victims were stabbed to death, the Idaho Statesman reported.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt described the scene as “gruesome,” according to KHQ.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in the 16 years I’ve been in this position,” Mabbutt said.
Moscow Mayor Art Bettge said the quadruple homicide occurred sometime between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Nov. 13, and referred to the attack as a “crime of passion,” the Idaho Statesman reported.
Stacy Chapin sharply rebuked that assertion.
“I don’t want people to make assumptions about our kids,” she told the Idaho Statesman. “It wasn’t drugs and it was definitely not some passion thing between these kids. Someone entered the house.”
Bettge said the “crime of passion” description was just one of several potential scenarios he had mentioned during his interview with the Idaho Statesman.
“It could be any of a number of things,” the mayor said. “The police don’t know yet. I haven’t been told.”
The Moscow Police Department (MPD) is leading the investigation with the assistance of the Idaho State Police and other federal and state law enforcement agencies.
Today, we’re learning more about the four @uidaho victims found dead yesterday in a home near campus.@CityofMoscowId identified the victims as Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle.
Below is a photo of Maddie and Kaylee, provided by family. @KREM2 pic.twitter.com/zsNTu9PEM5
— Janelle Finch // MMJanelle (@JFinchTV) November 14, 2022
“Autopsies are scheduled to be completed later this week and will hopefully provide more definitive information on the exact cause of the deaths,” the MPD said, according to NBC News.
Investigators said they are working to identify “persons of interest,” and that they have been piecing together a timeline to retrace the four students’ whereabouts and activities between the evening of Nov. 12 and the time of their deaths, the Idaho Statesman reported.
They said they believe the victims were all specifically targeted, according to The Oregonian.
Moscow PD also identified Xana Kernodle as one of the four @uidaho students who died Sunday in an alleged homicide.
In a statement provided by her sister, she is remembered as “positive, funny and loved by everyone.” @KREM2 pic.twitter.com/PouwliPcHc
— Janelle Finch // MMJanelle (@JFinchTV) November 15, 2022
“Investigators believe this was an isolated, targeted attack and there is no imminent threat to the community at large,” the MPD noted.
Classes at the University of Idaho were canceled on Monday to honor the four victims.
Support services for student and staff have also been made available.
Many students left campus early ahead of the Thanksgiving break to be with their families, The Oregonian reported.
University of Idaho Spokesperson Kyle Pfannenstiel said that a vigil for the murdered students was originally slated to take place on Wednesday, but that he has been postponed until after students return from the Thanksgiving holiday.