Moscow, ID – Moscow Police Chief James Fry walked back his previous claim that the community-at-large is not in any danger in the wake of four University of Idaho students being stabbed to death in the middle of the night by an unknown assailant.
“We do not have a suspect at this time, and that individual is still out there,” Chief Fry conceded on Wednesday, according to NBC News. “We cannot say there is no threat to the community.”
The police chief insisted that it was an “isolated, targeted attack,” but he would not elaborate on why investigators came to that conclusion, KREM reported.
Latah County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Thompson said the lack of productive leads into the four students’ horrific murders has stymied investigators, CNN reported.
“We have no one in custody, and the police have been unable to identify who is responsible for these homicides,” Thompson said.
The prosecutor noted that police have not ruled out the possibility that there may have been more than one killer, NBC News reported.
“At this point, the investigators are looking at all possibilities,” Thompson said.
The four University of Idaho students were found dead inside an off-campus home on Nov. 13.
The victims of the quadruple homicide 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.
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 and later determined they had all been stabbed to death.
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.
Investigators said there were no signs of forced entry.
“We’re not 100% sure the door was unlocked,” Chief Fry said, according to CNN. “There was no damage to anything and the door was still open when we got there.”
Two other roommates were inside the house at the time of the murders and were not injured in the attack.
Police have not elaborated on whether they are suspects in the case, NBC News reported.
ISP Spokesperson Aaron Snell said both roommates have been fully cooperating with law enforcement, according to CNN.
The murder weapon has not been found.
“Currently we have 25-plus investigators working this case,” Chief Fry said, according to NBC News. “We are reviewing video that has been collected, and we are asking that citizens contact us with any information you may that will help in this investigation.”
Idaho State Police (ISP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are among the law enforcement agencies assisting with the case.
“We are looking at everyone,” ISP Col. Kedrick Willis told NBC News. “Every tip we get, every we lead we get — there is no one we’re not going to talk to. There is no one we’re not going to interview.”
Goncalves and Mogen were last seen alive outside the Grub Trucker’s food truck in Moscow at approximately 1:41 a.m. on Nov. 13, CNN reported.
Security footage from the truck showed the women ordering their food and chatting with other people nearby.
Grub Truckers Manager Joseph Woodall said there was no indication that either of the women were in danger or distress, CNN reported.
Investigators said that Kernodle and Chapin had been at a party on campus that night, according to NBC News.
Chief Fry said the students all arrived home sometime after 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, CNN reported.
Goncalves, Kernodle, and Mogen all lived at the off-campus home with at least two other roommates, a neighbor told NBC News.
Kernodle and Chapin were dating and had been together since the spring.
Goncalves and Mogen were set to graduate from the University of Idaho next spring, NBC News reported.
In addition to being roommates, Mogen and Kernodle were also coworkers at a local Greek restaurant.
The victims were all active members of their sororities and fraternity, NBC News reported.
Police said they have released all the information they can to the public without jeopardizing the ongoing investigation.
“Until this case is completely resolved, we ask the community to continue to be vigilant, alert, report suspicious activity and help us to be the eyes and ears in our community,” the MPD said in a press release.