Home News What we know so far: University of Idaho murders update

What we know so far: University of Idaho murders update

What we know so far: University of Idaho murders update

The gruesome stabbing murders of four University of Idaho friends while they slept have shocked the small college town of Moscow — and the rest of the country.

The victims, all under the age of 22, were killed in the dead of night at their off-campus home after partying at separate locations in a grisly and seemingly motiveless slaying.

Local police and the FBI have examined thousands of pieces of evidence and hundreds of tips, but two weeks after the deaths, no suspect or murder weapon has been identified.

Twitch streaming video from a food truck in Moscow, Idaho, shows murder victims Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves with an unidentified man hours before they were killed.

With a killer on the loose many students have declined to return to the University for the final weeks of the semester, and the father of one victim said he’s “frustrated” by the cops’ response in the puzzling case.

Here’s what we know about the murders so far.

Kaylee Goncalves, 21

Kaylee Goncalves graduated from Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2019 and attended the University of Idaho. She went to high school with another victim, Madison Mogen, who was her best friend.

“Mostly, they looked out for one another and would fiercely defend one another if smack talk came from anyone else,” English and speech teacher Todd Josmin told the Idaho Press.

Goncalves posted a photo of herself with her roommates hours before her murder, writing, “One lucky girl to be surrounded by these people.”

Photo of victim Kaylee Goncalves.

She was majoring in general studies in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.

Madison Mogen, 21

“Maddie exuded love. She was kind, gentle, and oh so fun. Maddie was smart and motivated. She often worked multiple jobs, did extremely well in school and somehow always prioritized time with her friends and family first,”aunt Katie Blackshear said. “Maddie was cherished by our family and we are all shattered.”

Mogen had been dating Jake Schriger, whose “world has been turned upside down” by her death, his mom told The Post, adding: “Her and Jake went together like peanut butter and jelly.”

Picture of victim Maddie Mogen

Mogen was majoring in marketing and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.

Xana Kernodle, 20

“You rarely get to meet someone like Xana,” her sister Jazzmin Kernodle told CNN. “She was so positive, funny and was loved by everyone who met her.”

According to the university, Kernodle was a junior studying marketing and a member of the sorority Pi Beta Phi.

Ethan Chapin, who was also murdered, was Xana’s boyfriend.

Ethan Chapin, 20

Ethan was a “kind, loyal, loving son, brother, cousin, and friend,” his mom Stacy Chapin said in a statement following his murder.

Chapin, a freshman majoring in recreation sport and tourism management, was in a set of triplets, all of whom attend the University of Idaho.

He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.

victims Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle
victims Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle

The Night of the Murders

Prior to the murders, the friends spent Saturday night partying like any other college student. Chapin and Kernodle went to a fraternity gathering and returned home around 1:45 a.m. Sunday, according to police.

Goncalves and Mogen went to Corner Club, a local bar, and left around 1:30 a.m. They pulled over to a late-night food truck and chatted with others in line while waiting for their food. A ride-hailing driver, who has been ruled out as a suspect, drove the two students home, and they arrived shortly before 2 a.m.

What we know so far: University of Idaho murders update

When Goncalves returned home, she called her on-again, off-again boyfriend Jack DuCoeur seven times between 2:26 and 2:52 a.m., but he didn’t answer because he was sleeping. DuCoeur has been ruled out as a suspect by police.

The Survivors

The four murdered students were found on the second and third floor of their home, but the two roommates living on the ground floor — Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen — were spared. It’s unclear why the two roommates were not killed and if they slept through the attacks.

Funke and Mortensen had also been out that night and arrived home just after 1 a.m. the morning of the murder. Neither has spoken publicly about the murders, but showed off matching tattoos to commemorate their fallen friends.

Bethany Funke

It has also emerged murdered roommate Kaylee Goncalves’ dog, Murphy, was at the house when police responded around midday.

However, authorities have not confirmed if they believe the dog was in the house at the time of the murders.

Who is the Killer?

Authorities do not know who killed Goncavles, but they have ruled out a number of suspects, including: Goncalves’ ex-boyfriend DeCoeur; the man seen with Goncalves and Mogen at the food truck; the person who drove the two girls home; the surviving two roommates, Mortensen and Funke; the victims themselves, as there is no evidence of a murder-suicide; and the friends summoned to the house by the surviving roommates

Rumors circulated that Goncalves had a stalker, but police were unable to corroborate the claims.

Famed former FBI profiler Jim Clemente told The Post he believes the suspect is a “younger” man and a first-time killer who knew at least one of the suspects.

“This is an extremely risky crime for the offender — unless he knows one or more of the victims, or he’s been stalking one of them,” he said. “Going into an occupied dwelling with six young adults, any of whom could have a knife or a gun or a cell phone to call the police is extremely risky unless you know the circumstances inside.”

The Evidence

Police have yet to find a murder weapon, but they believe it is a fixed blade knife, possibly a KA-BAR style combat knife.

Moscow Building Supply general manager Scott Jutte told the Idaho Statesman that a police officer stopped by the store several times in the week following the murder to ask if he had sold any knives of that type.

Authorities have not stated why they were looking for the weapon.

Moscow police appear to be searching for a "Rambo"-style knife used in the killing.
Moscow police appear to be searching for a “Rambo”-style knife used in the killing.

According to police, they have processed over 1,000 tips, gathered 103 pieces of evidence, conducted nearly 100 interviews, and photographed the crime scene over 4,000 times.

The killer likely entered the 2,300 sq. ft home between 3 and 6 a.m. through a sliding door and stalked through three bedrooms carrying out their knife rampage, records indicate. Goncalves and Mogen were killed on the third floor, while Chapin and Kernodle were killed in a bed they were sharing on the second floor.

None of the victims showed signs of sexual assault, according to the coroner’s report. No motive has been identified for the murders.