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Cops urge patience as they search for suspect in slaying of University of Idaho students

Cops urged patience on Sunday as investigators worked through hundreds of tips and interviewed dozens of people one week after four University of Idaho students were found stabbed to death in an unspeakable tragedy.

The Moscow Police Department held a press conference along with state and federal law enforcement but had little new details one week after the quadruple homicide.

Moscow police still believe the attack was targeted, but could not divulge further information.

“It was a complex and terrible crime and it will take some time to resolve,” Moscow Police Chief James Fry warned.

“We believe they’re targeted because we take a totality of all the circumstances we’re looking at. Do we know any one person that was targeted?” Fry also said. “We’re not able to say at this point in time due to our investigation, but we still believe that.” 

Fry said the 911 call about an unconscious body came from one of the roommates’ phones, but refused to say who actually made the call. But he noted that other friends arrived at the home around the time the call was made.

He also noted the 911 caller was not the killer.

Moscow Police Department Police Chief James Fry during a news conference on Nov. 20, 2022 in Moscow, Idaho.
James Keivom

Law enforcement has received over 600 tips over the last week and conducted 90 interviews, Fry said as authorities continue to be unsure where the killer or killers could be.

“We are looking everywhere that the evidence will lead us. I can’t say if the person’s here, I can’t say what community the person’s in,” Fry said.  “We’re utilizing every resource we can to make that location of the individual.”

When asked if the suspect could be across state lines, Fry replied, “We’re looking everywhere.”

Questions continue to swirl after seniors Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, junior Xana Kernodle and freshman Ethan Chapin were all found dead of stab wounds Sunday around noon.

Authorities believe the four were killed earlier that morning while they slept. The three women were roommates and Chapin was in a relationship with Kernodle.

Many students have left the city of 25,000 ahead of Thanksgiving break. And many students don’t want to come back, University of Idaho president Scott Green said during the press conference.

“We are making security our top priority. We’re also planning for the very real possibility that some students aren’t comfortable returning to campus,” Green said.

“While we certainly hope there’s a swift closure with the arrest of whoever is responsible for this crime, we must also be prepared for all the possibilities including a lengthy investigation,” he cautioned.

Idaho students
Madison Mogen, 21, top left, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, bottom left, Ethan Chapin, 20, center, and Xana Kernodle, 20, right, were brutally murdered.
University of Idaho students were stabbed to death
Moscow police still believe the attack was targeted.
James Keivom

Chapin and Kernodle were seen at the Sigma Chi fraternity house before the pair got home around 1:45 a.m. Sunday. Goncalves and Mogen were at a popular bar in downtown Moscow until 1:30 a.m. before visiting a food truck and getting a lift home from a ride-hailing service around 1:45 a.m.

Two of the victims were on the second floor and the other two victims were on the third floor. They were stabbed multiple times and some had defensive wounds, police said.

Police originally insisted there was no threat to the community right after the grisly discovery, but days later backtracked and urged community members to be vigilant.

Dozens of FBI agents are assigned to the case, as are state police, to assist the Moscow Police Department.

No murder weapon had been located despite police sifting through dumpsters near the crime scene.

blood on wall
Authorities noted the 911 caller was not the killer.
James Keivom
Investigators gather evidence
Law enforcement has received over 600 tips over the last week and conducted 90 interviews.
James Keivom

“Early in the investigation, local businesses were canvassed in an effort to see if any fixed blade type knives may have recently been purchased,” said Moscow police captain Roger Lanier. “And currently, there are no suspects in custody and we have not located a weapon.”

The two roommates, a man spotted at the food truck near Goncalves and Mogen and a ride-hailing driver who took the two college students back home all have been ruled out as suspects, police said.

Fry also said police believed numerous calls to a man from Goncalves and Mogen were not connected to the crime. According to Fox News Digital, the parents of Goncalves said they believed the person their daughter called multiple times, her ex-boyfriend, was not involved in the crime.

“We know that people want answers, we want answers, too,” said Idaho state police Colonel Kendrick Wills. 

Police are asking anyone that might have information on the case to contact authorities. 

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