Idaho murders: Investigators work through Thanksgiving Day as college town closes

MOSCOW, Idaho – Eleven days after the appalling deaths of four University of Idaho students, Moscow had become a ghost town.

It was a gloomy Thanksgiving Day, with almost every business on Main Street closed – except for the gym. Many students had returned home to spend the holidays with family or to distance themselves from the shocking unsolved murders.

Outside Mad Greek, a makeshift memorial honors the victims. It’s one of many that have popped up around town and on campus.

Two of the victims, Madison Mogen, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, worked there. In the window is a leaflet asking the public for advice.

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The four victims of the University of Idaho murders on November 13, 2022.

The four victims of the University of Idaho murders on November 13, 2022.
(Instagram/@kayleegoncalves)

“I don’t know what else to say you were amazing people who didn’t deserve this,” one note read.

The two women, along with Ethan Chapin, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were stabbed to death in their sleep on November 13 between 3 and 4 a.m. in a rental house where the three young women lived with two other roommates who were not injured. Chapin was Kernodle’s boyfriend and stayed that night.

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A woman working at the cafe near Moscow police headquarters said she didn’t expect anyone else to be open during the holiday.

Few cars passed through the neighborhood. Most parking lots were empty.

Mourners left notes at makeshift memorials around town and on campus for the four slain University of Idaho students.

Mourners left notes at makeshift memorials around town and on campus for the four slain University of Idaho students.
(Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

But investigators were seen working over the holidays, starting late in the morning.

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FBI personnel and uniformed officers came and went. A man in civilian clothes briefly stepped out front, said police headquarters were “crammed” inside, and returned through the locked front doors.

Members of the FBI team arrive in Moscow, Idaho at the Thanksgiving Police Department after joint murders.

Members of the FBI team arrive in Moscow, Idaho at the Thanksgiving Police Department after joint murders.
(Derek Shook for Fox News Digital)

Two people arrived to drop off boxes of donuts and at one point a truck arrived to refuel the mobile command center, which was parked in the gated parking lot behind the police station at the start of the day .

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Moscow Police Chief James Fry did not immediately respond to questions about Thanksgiving staffing, but at a news conference on Wednesday, authorities said they plan to continue the investigation. during the holidays.

Moscow, Idaho, cruisers in the police station parking lot on Thanksgiving.  Uniformed officers and members of the FBI were seen coming and going on the holiday morning.

Moscow, Idaho, cruisers in the police station parking lot on Thanksgiving. Uniformed officers and members of the FBI were seen coming and going on the holiday morning.
(Derek Shook for Fox News Digital)

Aaron Snell, director of communications for the Idaho State Police, told Fox News Digital Thursday that investigators will be working around the clock and through Thanksgiving and holiday weekends.

“We have many detectives who continue to work, FBI agents who continue to work,” he said. “They will work during these holidays and during the weekend.”

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Outside the victims’ home, just off campus, Latah County Sheriff’s Deputies stood guard. Behind them, pink tape sealed the front door, demarcated and timestamped for each investigator who entered.

A Latah County deputy monitors the crime scene on Thanksgiving morning.

A Latah County deputy monitors the crime scene on Thanksgiving morning.
(Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

Crime scene tape remains around the property, where blinds were closed. The victims’ cars were still parked outside Thursday morning.

And investigators have their work cut out for them. A classmate told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that the victims lived in a known “party house” where dozens of friends may have passed in the days leading up to the murder, complicating the collection of DNA evidence at the scene.

The backyard of an off-campus house where the victims were killed can be seen through police tape.

The backyard of an off-campus house where the victims were killed can be seen through police tape.
(Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

“They could have had a party last week between 40, 50 people, so hair evidence, it all becomes very suspicious,” said Joseph Giacalone, assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and a retired NYPD sergeant, told Fox News Digital. “Because of the dynamics of what you’re dealing with here, you have to rely on phone records, internet records, and surveillance video to try to piece this thing together.”

Police have not publicly identified any suspects or persons of interest.

But they excluded the two housemates who were downstairs at the time of the murders, a man who appeared on surveillance video of a food truck at the same time as Goncalves and Mogen shortly before they returned home, a driver from ” private party. who took them home, Goncalves’ ex-boyfriend and a group of friends who were present at the house Sunday morning when the initial 911 call was made.

University of Idaho victims Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were seen in video footage hours before they were killed.

University of Idaho victims Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were seen in video footage hours before they were killed.
(Twitch/GrubTruckers)

Police said on Wednesday they took 4,000 photographs and collected 103 “pieces of evidence”.

They also said detectives seized the contents of three dumpsters on King Road as part of the investigation.

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They are asking anyone with surveillance footage in the area to turn it over.

They did not recover the murder weapon and were unable to confirm reports that Goncalves had a stalker before the attack.

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“Kaylee mentioned having a stalker, but detectives were unable to corroborate the statement,” police said in a statement. “Investigators are asking anyone with information about a potential stalker or unusual cases to contact the whistleblower line.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the tipline at 208-883-7180 ​​or email tipline@ci.moscow.id.us.

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