Police pursued ‘stalker’ tip in mystery University of Idaho killings

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Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier told a news conference that his department was putting all its resources into solving the case and that investigators were ready to work over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Authorities gave no indication they were about to make an arrest, but said they were continuing to process forensic evidence collected from the home where the students were killed. Additional surveillance video could be just as useful for what it doesn’t show as what it does, Police Chief James Fry said.

The community has been rocked by the murder of four University of Idaho students. (AP)

“We continue to move forward to understand why this happened in our community,” Fry said.

The killings have stunned bucolic Moscow, a college town and agricultural hub that opened its first Target store last year. The city, which has a population of 26,000, is surrounded by wheat and bean fields and had not seen a homicide since 2015.

The victims were roommates Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; and Kernodle’s boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20, of Mount Vernon, Washington.

Police said Tuesday they had sought information that Goncalves had a stalker, but were unable to identify one.

Police said they followed up on reports that Kaylee Goncalves had a stalker. (instagram)

They also spilled rumors about other incidents – including a car burglary and the killing of a dog – potentially linked to the case, as well as a rumor that the victims had been bound or gagged.

Investigators say Mogen and Goncalves had been out at a bar and a food truck before returning home around 1:45 a.m. that Sunday. Kernodle and Chapin had been at a fraternity house and returned home around the same time. Two other roommates, whose names have not been released, returned about 45 minutes earlier.

Just before noon, a 911 call from the house reported an unconscious person; it had been placed from the phone of one of the roommates.

Madison Mogen was one of four killed. (instagram)

Officers found the four students dead, two on the second floor and two on the third.

At least some appeared to have been attacked in their sleep, and some had defensive wounds, police said. There were no signs of sexual assault.

Police initially called the killings ‘targeted’ and said there was no general threat to the public, but they later came back, admitting they couldn’t say there was no there was no threat. Many of the university’s 11,000 students fled campus ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Faculty have been asked to prepare remote learning options for students who do not wish to return to in-person classes after the break, University of Idaho President Scott Green said. The school has increased security in the dorms and students can request campus security escorts.

Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle. (instagram)

Dozens of agents, investigators and patrol officers from the FBI and the Idaho State Patrol supported the efforts of the Moscow Police Department.

“Even with these additional resources, it’s unclear how long this investigation will take,” Green said in a video message Wednesday.

“It’s deeply frustrating for all of us.”

A candlelight vigil to honor the victims is scheduled for Nov. 30 on campus.

Police pursued ‘stalker’ tip in mystery University of Idaho killings

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