killer – or killer – whoWednesday remained rampant, despite assurances from police that there was no imminent risk to the community, prompting many students to leave campus in the idyllic small town. Meanwhile, photos and messages on Instagram show the four to be close, longtime friends, with one victim recently writing that she was “a lucky girl to be surrounded by these people.”
Many students had left the beautiful tree-lined campus in Moscow, Idaho, by Tuesday. University of Idaho spokesman Kyle Funnenstiel told CBS News on Tuesday that a vigil scheduled for this week for the slain students was postponed until after the school falls next week.
The students, all close friends, were found dead in an off-campus rental home around noon on Sunday, and officials said they had been killed several hours earlier. Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told Spokane, Washington-based television station KXLY that her preliminary investigation suggested the students were stabbed to death. Mabbat said there was no indication that drug use was involved in the deaths.
The Moscow Police Department has not said whether investigators have identified any suspects, but said in a statement that the killings “occurred in an isolated, targeted attack and pose no imminent threat to the community at large.” Police also said that evidence at the scene indicated there was no widespread risk, but did not provide any details about that evidence.
“We determined at the outset of the investigation that we do not believe there is a threat to members of the community,” the department said in a statement Tuesday. “The evidence indicates that this was a targeted attack.”
Lata County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said he understands that police’s claim that there is no imminent risk to the public seems contrary to the facts released so far about the killings.
“Obviously, there’s no way police can say there isn’t a risk, but what they’re seeing indicates there is no risk that this individual will randomly attack people,” Thompson said. or more.
Thompson said, “I don’t think they’re going to eliminate the possibility that it could be one or more people, but right now they don’t know who is responsible.”
The police department said investigators were working to establish a timeline of the victims’ activities before they were killed. Thompson said this included reviewing video from a Twitch livestream that showed two victims talking and getting a late-night snack from a food truck in the hours before the murders.
“They’re in the process of identifying other people who were there,” Thompson said, “and what kind of contact they had.”
The post-mortem to be held on Wednesday may reveal more details about the murder.
The police statement said investigators are “following up on all leads and identifying persons of interest” in the case.
Police discovered the bodies of the students on Sunday while responding to a report of an unconscious person at the home.as Ethan Chapin, a 20-year-old from Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, a 21-year-old from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, from Avondale, Arizona; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, from Rathdrum, Idaho. Authorities have not said which of the victims lived in the home.
Kurnodle’s sister, Jazmin Kurnodle, wrote in a text to the AP that her family was confused and anxiously awaiting updates from the investigation.
“Zhana was so happy and loved, and it breaks my heart,” wrote Jazmin Kurnodl. The other students were also wonderful people, she said, and her sister was lucky to have them in her life.
“She was very personable, and always lit up a room. She made me such a proud big sister, and I wish I could have had more time with her,” she wrote. “He had so much life left to live.”
All of the victims were fellow or fraternity members. Kernodle and Chapin were dating.
In a post, Kurnodl wished Chapin a happy birthday, writing, “Life is so much better with you in it, love you!” The caption was accompanied by a photo of Chapin in a chef’s hat with a knodl and mouse ears over his shoulders.
Several weeks ago, Goncalves posted a series of photos showing him and Mogan growing up together. “I didn’t want anyone else to be the main character in all my childhood stories,” she wrote.
“I love you more than life! More my best friend forever,” replied Mogen.
Another photo, apparently posted hours before he died, showed the four smiling and two others looking nonchalant with friends. Chapin wrapped his arm around Kernodle’s shoulders, and Mogen rested on Gonçalves’ shoulders.
“What a lucky girl to be surrounded by these guys every day,” Goncalves wrote.
According to CBS affiliate KREM-TV, Goncalves’ family released an emotional statement about the loss of their daughter and sister.
“Kaylie was, is, and always will be our protector and protector,” the family wrote, in part. “… He did absolutely everything he set his mind to. He didn’t hold back on love, fighting, or life.”
Signs of the community’s grief and uncertainty were scattered throughout the small town on Tuesday. Moscow has about 26,000 residents, but this population swells to about 11,000 when students arrive.
A makeshift memorial was set up with flowers, candles and notes on a table in front of the Mad Greek restaurant in downtown Moscow, where Kurnodl and Mogen worked. Four white pillar candles, each inscribed with the name of the slain student, are lit in the center of the table.
The restaurant’s owner wrote on Facebook that Mad Greek would be closed for a few days so that staff, friends and family could mourn “this incredible loss.”
Owner Jackie Fisher wrote, “Zana and Maddie have been servers here for many years and have brought so much joy to our restaurant and to all of them.” “You will be greatly missed. Thank you for being a part of our family/team and for helping me so much over the years.”
A flag stood at half-mast in front of the Sigma Chi fraternity where Chapin was a member, just a short walk from the house where all four died.
The six-bedroom rental home was surrounded by crime scene tape on Tuesday, but there were no signs of activity inside. Latah County sheriff’s deputies stood guard near the driveway, and Idaho State Police officers were also at the scene.
Moscow Police Captain Anthony Dahlinger said police were “trying to identify the suspect” but would not say whether investigators had one in mind.
“These things are dynamic and constantly changing,” Dahlinger said.
The University of Idaho canceled classes on Monday and said additional security staff would be available to move students around campus. Still, the lack of arrests and information about the deaths prompted several days to drop before the Thanksgiving break began.
The students who remained showed fewer signs of apprehension.
“I feel very safe,” student Nicole June said Tuesday. “I have faith that the police can do their job.”
Nathan Lanigan, 18, said he was surprised by reports that there was no threat as a perpetrator had not been apprehended.
“It’s a quick decision, I think,” Lanigan said.
In Monday’s memo, University of Idaho President Scott Green urged university staff to be empathetic and flexible and to work with students who wanted to spend time with their families.
Greene wrote of the slain students, “Words cannot adequately describe the light these students brought into this world or diminish the depth of the suffering.”
The university said Chapin was a freshman, and Kernodle was a junior majoring in marketing and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. The university said Mogen was also a senior in marketing who belonged to Pi Beta Phi, and Goncalves was a senior in general studies and a member of Alpha Phi sorority.