Authorities said Tuesday that the bloody scene where four University of Idaho students were slaughtered with a knife was the “worst they’ve ever seen” – as people on campus unnerved by the shocking crime skip town early for Thanksgiving.
Law enforcement sources told the Daily Mail that the victims bled out after being butchered in the off-campus home, and described the scene as the “worst they’ve ever seen.”
“There was blood everywhere. We have investigators who have been on the job for 20, even 30, years, and they say they have never seen anything like this,” a police source close to the probe told the outlet.
The Daily Mail also published chilling images showing blood streaking down the side of the building where the bodies were found.
Police have identified the victims, who were found dead about noon Sunday, as Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.
On Tuesday, the Moscow Police Department described their deaths as “targeted” murders.
“We certainly have a crime here, so we are looking for a suspect,” police Capt. Anthony Dahlinger told the Idaho Statesman.
“Based on preliminary information, investigators believe that an edged weapon such as a knife was used,” police said in a statement.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said autopsies would be conducted Wednesday.
The crime has left the community reeling and many students have decided to pack up early and head home for Thanksgiving.
“As a great number of students have already left the Moscow campus, a candlelight vigil that was previously being considered for tomorrow, Nov. 16, is being rescheduled,” Dean of Students Blaine Eckles wrote in notice Tuesday, Fox News reported.
“It will be held after Thanksgiving break, during the week of Nov. 28, so that all students who wish to attend are able to do so. Keep monitoring your emails for date, time and location of the vigil,” she wrote.
The deaths have “had a profound impact on their families and friends” and the school stands “with them in their grief,” Eckles added.
Many people are “getting out of Dodge,” Latah County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Mikolajczyk told the Idaho Statesman.
The 28-year police veteran told the paper that he saw area residents, many of them students, leave town Monday, almost a week before the university’s Thanksgiving break begins.
“I’ve been here a long time and stuff like this doesn’t happen often in Moscow,” Mikolajczyk told the Statesman. “It has every once in a while, and I think this is probably one of the worst.”
Senior Katelyn Hettinga, the school’s former student body vice president, told the paper Tuesday that all of her professors canceled classes for the rest of the week, which she thought was “the right move.”
“It allows us to focus on just getting through this,” she said. “I know that violence can happen anywhere, but seeing it in Moscow, which has been such a safe place for several years, is just so shocking.”
Hettinga added: “A lot of us are feeling a bit insecure in the safety we feel in and around campus.”