Four University of Idaho students found dead at an off campus apartment might have been killed in ‘crime of passion’ or a ‘burglary gone wrong’ as Moscow Police announce the deaths as homicides, the result of fatal stabbings.
The four University of Idaho students found slain at an off campus house over the weekend were slain with a knife in what police are now investigating as ‘targeted’ murders, officials said.
The four murdered college students were identified as Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21. The four appeared to be friends based off social media accounts according to the The Moscow Police Department.
Moscow police Capt. Anthony Dahlinger told the Idaho Statesman on Tuesday that none of the deceased students were believed to be responsible for the deaths. All four deaths were ruled homicides.
In a press release offering an update on the homicide probe, police said that while no weapons have been recovered, ‘based on preliminary information, investigators believe that an edged weapon such as a knife was used.’
The students likely died between 3 and 4 a.m., Sunday. It wasn’t until noon later that day that their bodies were discovered, officials said. Not immediately known was who lived at the apartment where the bodies were found.
Crime of passion? Robbery gone wrong? Targeted murders…
Ethan Chapin’s mother, Sarah Chapin, told the news outlet that a friend discovered the bodies inside the home on King Road and called 911.
‘We certainly have a crime here, so we are looking for a suspect,’ Moscow Police Capt. Anthony Dahlinger told the Statesman. Nevertheless police downplayed the notion that the public faced any risks.
‘The overall assessment is that it’s a crime of passion,’ Moscow Mayor Art Bettge told the nytimes.
‘The victims may have been killed in a robbery gone wrong,’ Bettge later told Fox News.
Chapin and Kernodle appeared to be in a relationship, with one Instagram caption from Kernodle reading, ‘Life is so much better with you in it, love you!’ celebrating Chapin’s birthday.
Mogen and Goncalves hailed from Coeur d’Alene and Rathdrum, Idaho, respectively, police said. Chapin was from Washington state.
Kernodle was from Arizona, according to police, though school officials said she was from Post Falls in Idaho.
Murder suicide ruled out
Goncalves’ family remembered her as ‘our defender and protector,’ according to KREM2.
‘She did absolutely everything she set her mind to. She didn’t hold back on love, fights or life. Kaylee was the ultimate go getter and constantly wanted an adventure,’ the slain woman’s sister, Alivea told KREM2.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told media that autopsies would be conducted Wednesday, but ruled out that the deaths were the result of a murder-suicide. She said she could not reveal more without permission from police.
Chapin was a freshman and member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and Kernodle was a junior majoring in marketing and part of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.
Mogen was a senior also majoring in marketing and Goncalves was a senior majoring in general studies, the university said.
The tragic discovery Sunday initially led the university ordering students to shelter in place until authorities ensured there was no ongoing threat to the community. The city of Moscow in north-central Idaho has a population of more than 25,000 and is about 80 miles from Spokane, Washington.
University President Scott Green canceled classes Monday out of respect for the four students whose lives were cut short.
‘It is with deep sadness that I share with you that the university was notified today of the death of four University of Idaho students living off-campus believed to be victims of homicide,’ Green said in a statement Sunday night.
The announced deaths come just hours apart from a shooting at the University of Virginia where three people were killed. The alleged gunman in that case was arrested Monday after a 12-hour manhunt.