News conference set in slaying of 4 Idaho college students

University of Idaho
Posted at 3:33 PM, Nov 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-16 17:33:15-05

MOSCOW, Idaho — Police in the college town of Moscow scheduled a news conference for Wednesday afternoon to discuss the slayings of four University of Idaho students in a rental house near campus.

Some of the families of the students have been urging police to release more information about the killings and to reveal why they think there is no ongoing danger to the community.

The father of victim Ethan Chapin said in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday that a lack of information from Moscow police and the university “only fuels false rumors and innuendo in the press and social media.”

“The silence further compounds our family’s agony after our son’s murder,” Jim Chapin wrote. “I urge officials to speak the truth, share what they know, find the assailant, and protect the greater community.”

The students — three women and one man, all close friends — were found dead Sunday afternoon by police responding to a report of an unconscious person at the home. Officials said they were likely killed several hours earlier, and Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt reported that her preliminary investigation showed the students were stabbed to death.

Madison Mogan, 21, from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, from Rathdrum, Idaho, were friends since childhood. Goncalves was described by family members as an outspoken middle child.

Xana Kernodle, 20, from Avondale, Arizona, worked as a server for several years along with Mongan at the Mad Greek, a downtown restaurant.

Ethan Chapin, 20, was a triplet born in 2002 to Stacy and Jim Chapin of Conway, Washington. All three siblings enrolled at the University of Idaho.

“Ethan ... was a kind, loyal, loving son, brother, cousin, and friend,” Stacy Chapin said via email. “Words cannot express the heartache and devastation our family is experiencing.”

The victims were all members of sororities or fraternities. Kernodle and Chapin were dating.

There have been no arrests in the case. Moscow police have not said whether investigators have identified a suspect or suspects, but said in a statement that the killings were “an isolated, targeted attack and there is no imminent threat to the community at large.”

Police also said evidence from the scene indicates there is no broader risk, but they have not provided further information or said why they believe the victims were targeted.

Autopsies scheduled for Wednesday could provide more information.

Kernodle’s sister, Jazzmin Kernodle, said via text message that her family was confused and anxiously awaiting updates.

The family of Goncalves issued a warning to whoever was behind the killings.

“To whomever is responsible, we will find you. We will never stop. The pain you caused has fueled our hatred and sealed your fate,” the family said in a tweeted statement. “Justice will be served.”

Moscow is a town of about 25,000 in the Idaho Panhandle, about 80 miles south of Spokane, Washington.

News of the slayings prompted many of the 11,000 students to leave the Idaho campus early for Thanksgiving break.

Eight miles to the west in the college town of Pullman, Washington, officials expressed confidence Wednesday that there was no danger to residents there.

“If there was any threat to the public, we would be joining Moscow PD in releasing information warning of that threat,” said Gary Jenkins, the Washington State University police chief.