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Crime News University of Idaho Murders

Police Examining Gas Station Surveillance Footage In Idaho Student Murders

An overnight assistant manager at a Moscow gas station said she spotted a white sedan passing the store around around the same time police believe University of Idaho students Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, and Kaylee Goncalves were murdered.

By Jill Sederstrom
Four University Of Idaho Students Fatally Stabbed In 'Targeted' Attack

Investigators have gathered hours of surveillance video from a Moscow gas station after a clerk spotted a white vehicle passing the store around the time investigators believe four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death, according to a new report.

Moscow Police put out a plea last week for anyone with information on a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra spotted in the “immediate area” of the home on King Street on Nov. 13 around the same time authorities believe the four victims were killed.

Police said they believe the occupant or occupants of the vehicle “may have critical information” about the murders.

The plea gained the attention of an overnight assistant manager at gas station in Moscow who spent her down time during her shifts at the store going through surveillance footage from Nov. 13, according to Fox News.

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The clerk, who asked not to be named, told the news outlet she saw a white sedan passing the station around 3:45 a.m. that morning.

“I had a weird feeling to go get on the cameras,” she said.

According to the clerk, the car drove by “real quick” before turning down a side street off Highway 8.

After capturing a photo of the screen on her phone, she sent the image to investigators who arrived on Tuesday to collect the footage, taking with them an entire eight hours of camera footage.

Robbie Johnson, a police spokeswoman, declined to say whether the vehicle captured in the footage is believed to be the Elantra sought by investigators, but did urge the public to continue providing information to authorities.

“If you saw anything that night that looks strange … anything you have to report even if you don’t think it’s anything, we’re still encouraging people to send that in,” she said.

Xana Kernodle, 20; Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were found stabbed to death in an off-campus rental home on King Road around noon on Nov. 13. Investigators believe the college students were “likely asleep” when they were killed in the early morning hours that day, according to police. Some of the victims had “defensive wounds,” but investigators have not revealed which victims.

Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen

Moscow Police Capt. Roger Lanier described arriving at the “very, very somber” murder scene, where friends and family of the victims had gathered outside the home on the afternoon of Nov. 13, in a video statement released Tuesday by the department.

“There was a lot of crying,” Lanier said. “There were friends trying to find out who exactly was inside the house. Some family members arrived at the scene.”

“It was incredibly hard for the community, but it was also really hard on our officers, some of whom were very young and that was the first real major crime scene that they encountered,” he continued. “So, emotionally, it was a very, very draining day.”

In the month that has followed, Lanier said investigators continue to make progress on the case, although no arrests have been made.

“This investigation is not cold,” he said. “We get tips every day that are viable. We get dozens and dozens of tips. We sort through and we prioritize them.”

Lanier also cautioned against speculation about the case, calling the rumor mill “by far the most frustrating part of this.”

“We’ve always closely guarded the information that we discovered at the scene and our investigative information because we want to protect the integrity of the investigation,” he said.

Lanier said part of the problem has been the rampant speculation on social media, which he said often causes rumors to take on “a life of their own on the internet.”  

“We find ourselves not only tracking those rumors down and trying to quell them, but also we see our tips that come in are geared more toward the rumor and not the facts that have been put out,” he said. “The unfortunate part of it is the effect it’s had no the victims’ families, on the college students and friends of the victims, some of whom have had death threats and constant harassment by various media outlets.”

He called the damage “devastating.”

“In some ways, in many ways, it just re-victimizes folks who have already suffered this terrible trauma,” he said.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the tip line at 208-883-7180 or email tipline@ci.moscow.id.us.