University of Idaho student murders: Investigators reviewed over 1,000 tips


Moscow, Idaho
CNN

Investigators into the fatal stabbings of four University of Idaho students have gone through more than 1,000 tips that arrived within 10 days of the bodies being found, authorities told reporters at a conference press Wednesday afternoon.

Idaho State Patrol Col. Kedrick Wills also said more than 150 people were interviewed, but authorities gave no indication they were closer to naming a suspect.

Law enforcement officials remain tight-lipped, answering several questions about the case saying only that the information was part of the investigation, which began after the bodies of Ethan Chapin, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21-year-old Xana Kernodle, 20, and Madison Mogen, 21, were found November 13.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry said every tip would be prosecuted and they believed there was still more information to gather. He called on the public to use a hotline or online portal that accepts video or photographic evidence.

“No information is too small,” he said. “So far, (the information submitted) has helped investigators get a sense of the areas of interest and relationships these four had with each other and with our community.”

Authorities have not ruled out that more than one person may have been involved in the killings, they said. Police believe the attack was targeted and the killer(s) used a fixed-blade knife.

More than 45 investigators from the FBI, State Police and Moscow Police are involved in the murder case, the first in Moscow since 2015.

Steve Goncalves, Kaylee’s father, is “a bit in denial” after the murders, he told CNN on Wednesday, and is focused on getting justice for his daughter, despite the lack of information.

“We all want to play a role in helping, and we can’t play a role if we don’t have real, substantial information to work on,” he said, joined by his other children, Alivea and Steve.

Alivea has expressed frustration with the timeline – saying she knows her sister came home about 11 minutes later than police said – as well as with the rumors that have been circulating amid the void information. She dismissed claims that her sister was being stalked, echoing a statement Tuesday from police that they “were unable to verify or identify a stalker”.

“She was extremely aware,” the sister said. “She was very vigilant. I think she would have really noticed something.

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Here's what we know about 4 deaths near the Idaho campus being investigated as homicides

Victim’s sister shares details of Idaho home’s keypad lockout

Alivea Goncalves further described her sister as a goof who “didn’t dwell on any of the negatives”. She loved to laugh and prank her loved ones, she said.

“She would block me on Instagram if I borrowed shirts without asking – that was not uncommon,” Aliea said with a laugh.

Kaylee was also a hard worker, her brother said, and she would want him to fight for her.

“Just sitting in my bed and crying myself to sleep won’t do her justice, and that’s not what she would want me to do,” Steven Goncalves said.

Kaylee Goncalves was popular and knew everyone, her father said, and she often threw parties, like many young people her age.

Asked what he heard from local police, Steve Goncalves replied, “They don’t share much with me”, and suggested that Moscow police might be limited in what they can share.

The murders at the rental house where the four lived with two other people rocked the campus of 9,300 students, with one student telling CNN she would not return until a suspect was in custody.

Fry has not ruled out the possibility that there is still a threat to the community, he said last week, urging residents and students to remain vigilant, report suspicious activity and be aware of their environment.

Some teachers canceled classes last week, including Zachary Turpin, who wrote on social media that he ‘cannot in good conscience hold classes’ until police release more information or identify a suspicious.

Kaylee Gonçalves, Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogen

New details in Idaho stabbing investigation

University President Scott Green sent a memo to students and employees on Tuesday about learning options. The students are on fall vacation. When classes resume, there will be two weeks left in the semester.

“Faculty has been asked to prepare in-person and distance learning options so that each student can choose their method of engagement,” he wrote. “Moving courses entirely online is not preferable but may be necessary in limited situations.”

Graduation ceremonies remain scheduled for December 10.

More state troopers will be on campus for the foreseeable future, Green said. The size of the school’s security force has also been increased, he said.

The city of 26,000 is located on the border with Washington, about 80 miles south of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington. It is 9 miles from Pullman, Washington, home to Washington State University.

Investigators began building a timeline regarding the students and their last known whereabouts.

Chapin and Kernodle attended an 8-9 p.m. fraternity party on November 12, the day before they died.

Goncalves and Mogen were at a sports bar between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. They were then seen ordering from a nearby food truck, according to the truck’s Twitch stream.

As they waited about 10 minutes for their food, they chatted with other people standing near the truck. They didn’t appear to be in distress or danger, the man who manages the truck told CNN.

Goncalves and Mogen took advantage of a “private party” to take a ride, arriving home at 1:45 a.m., police said. Investigators do not believe the driver was involved in the deaths, they said. By then, all four victims were back home, police said.

How and when the attack happened is a major focus of the police investigation.

It wasn’t until just before noon that Sunday that a 911 call was received about an “unconscious individual” and responding officers found all four students dead. There were no signs of a break-in, police said.

Two other housemates were home and unharmed, and police do not believe they were involved in the crime, authorities said.

The slain students were “likely asleep” before the attack, police said, citing the Latah County coroner. Some of the four – it’s unclear how many – had defensive wounds, and there were no signs of sexual assault, police said.

idaho student movement map

Moscow Police Department

Police have not identified the 911 callers, saying only the call came from one of the surviving housemate’s phones. The people who spoke on the call are not suspects, police captain Roger Lanier said Wednesday.

On Monday, police said a dog was found at the home.

“The dog was uninjured and was handed over to animal services and then handed over to a responsible party,” Moscow police said on Facebook.

The University of Idaho has announced that it will hold a candlelight vigil on November 30.

“Please join us from where you are, individually or as a group, to help us light up Idaho. Light a candle, turn on the stadium lights, or hold a moment of silence with us as we unite on campus,” the university said.

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