The lack of information about the University of Idaho killings fuels fear and rumors

Col Kedrick Wills, head of the Idaho State Police in Moscow, a tiny town in northern Idaho, had a straightforward message. “We understand that people want answers. “We, too, demand answers,” he added at a recent news conference.

A manhunt has now been underway in this isolated college town for more than a week after an unnamed suspect stabbed four University of Idaho students to death in the early morning hours of November 13th.

People comfort one other outside the police tape that is blocking a drive to Club Q, the location of a mass shooting at the homosexual bar, on Monday, November 21, 2022, in Colorado Springs, Colo. David Zalubowski/AP Photo.

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Suspect in Colorado Springs shooting faces murder and hate crime charges Ethan Chapin, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Madison Mogen, 21, were slain while they slept in an off-campus residence on King Road, near the university’s sorority and fraternity buildings. The reason for the heinous act, as well as the name of the perpetrator, remain unclear.

Wills’ appeal in front of the television cameras was not simply for the wounded university community or the fearful college town that surrounds it. He was addressing on behalf of his state and the larger American public, which has watched in horror as more grisly details of the slayings have emerged, except for the most important of all – why this occurred and who did it.

There aren’t many hints. Mogen and Goncalves were last seen in a downtown Moscow pub called the Corner Club between 10 p.m. and 1.30 a.m., then at a late-night food truck. The video shows the two close friends, who went to high school together and both worked at a nearby Greek restaurant, ordering spaghetti with no obvious concern. At around 1.40 a.m., Mogen and Goncalves were given a ride home by a “private party,” whom detectives have investigated but do not suspect had anything to do with the pair’s homicide.

Chapin and Kernodle were at a party at Sigma Chi, a fraternity home on the University of Idaho campus, until 1.45 a.m., when they returned to the King Road residence. Kernodle, Mogen, and Goncalves shared a room. Chapin did not reside at the house, but looked to be only passing through. All of the victims were members of a sorority or fraternity at the University of Idaho. Their remains were discovered on the house’s second and third stories.

“They got stabbed. We got the call. I don’t want people to make assumptions about our kids. It wasn’t drugs and it was definitely not some passion thing between these kids. Someone entered the house,” Stacey Chapin told the Idaho Statesman four days after her son’s body was discovered.

The killings occurred between 3 and 4 a.m., according to authorities. According to Moscow police, two other unnamed companions were asleep during the attack. They were allegedly out until 1 a.m. and then slept until lunchtime the next day. The original 911 call was made using a smartphone belonging to one of the surviving housemates. Detectives were recently made aware of many phone conversations made by Mogen and Goncalves to a guy, according to police. That individual, who has yet to be recognised by authorities, has been ruled out as a possible suspect.

The autopsy records from the Latah County Coroner revealed no evidence of sexual assault. “Well, there was a lot of blood,” Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told KREM in Spokane, Washington, on Tuesday. “It was a heartbreaking spectacle.” Mabbutt found in her assessment that the four victims were most likely asleep when they were stabbed numerous times, and that some of them had defensive wounds.

It is unknown how the assailant gained access to the house or what type of knife was used in the stabbings. Police investigated dumpsters along King Road for evidence but found nothing useful. So yet, no weapon or clothes belonging to the suspect has been discovered.

“Based on details at the scene, we believe that this was an isolated, targeted attack on our victims,” said the Moscow police captain, James Fry, in the days following the murders. “We do not have a suspect at this time and that individual is still out there. We cannot say that there is no threat to the community and, as we have stated, please stay vigilant, report any suspicious activity and be aware of your surroundings at all times.”

On Sunday night, Fry refused to explain why police believe this was a targeted attack or which of the housemates they believe was the principal target. He was also unable to provide information regarding the murderer’s likely whereabouts. “We don’t know if the guy is here,” Fry explained.

As a result of the unsolved homicides, Moscow police have been collaborating with Idaho state police and the FBI to process over 600 tips and canvass homes and businesses in Moscow for surveillance video between the late-night hours of November 12 and the early-morning hours of November 13.

Wills specifically asked community members to stop following or spreading rumours during Sunday night’s press conference, presumably due to newly formed social media accounts about the unsolved murders spreading misinformation about suspects police have already ruled out.

The day after the students’ bodies were discovered, classes were cancelled. According to the Idaho Statesman, Latah County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Mikolajczyk saw students and neighbours of the deceased “getting out of Dodge” and leaving Moscow a week before the university’s Thanksgiving break began.

Scott Green, the president of the University of Idaho, repeated his belief that the deaths were the result of a deliberate attack in off-campus housing. He did admit, though, that he was hearing that some students want to learn remotely until a suspect is found, while others prefer to stay on campus.

“We are preparing for the very real possibility that some students will be reluctant to return to campus,” Green said. He publicly requested that teachers prepare for both types of student experiences.

The University of Idaho campus and the city of Moscow will continue to have an elevated law enforcement presence from the Idaho state police until someone is caught for the quadruple killing. Green described the troops on campus as a “very visible force” that will be around for the foreseeable future. The university is also tightening security in residential halls, demanding that all student dorms be closed and only residents be permitted access.