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Crime News University of Idaho Murders

Prosecutor Says It's Possible That More Than One Suspect Could Be Involved In Slayings Of Idaho College Students

“At this point, the investigators are looking at all possibilities,” Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said, as new details emerge about the deaths of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin.

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

As authorities continue to delve into the shocking murders of four University of Idaho college students, they say they haven’t ruled out the possibility that there could be more than one killer.

“At this point, the investigators are looking at all possibilities,” Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson told NBC’s “TODAY” show. “They don’t have a specific suspect.”

With the killer or killers still on the loose, on Wednesday Moscow Police Chief James Fry also walked back earlier statements made by the police that there was no ongoing threat to the community.

“We do not have a suspect at this time, and that individual is still out there,” Fry told reporters, according to the news outlet. “We cannot say there is no threat to the community.”

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Although authorities still do not know who killed Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, Sunday morning in the off-campus home, new details are emerging about how they died.

In a report released Thursday by Moscow Police, Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt ruled that all four students died Sunday morning after being stabbed to death in a quadruple homicide.

Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen

“It would have had to have been … not a pocket knife,” Mabbutt explained to NBC News of the autopsy results. “It would have been a bigger knife.”

The coroner believes the students were killed sometime after 2 a.m., according to the findings of an initial autopsy.

She called the victims’ wounds “pretty extensive” and noted she had never seen a crime scene quite like it.

“We have had multiple murders in the past, but nothing like this with four college students,” she said.

Moscow Mayor Art Bettge told ABC News that investigators believe the college students were killed sometime between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., but their deaths were not reported until around noon.

Authorities have said that at the time of the murders, two other female roommates had been in the home, but were not injured.

Idaho State Police spokesman Aaron Snell told the news outlet on Thursday that authorities had not ruled the surviving roommates “in or out” as suspects at this time. He believes they could be “the key” to discovering what happened.

“Potentially they are witnesses, potentially they are victims,” he said.

He added that the women are “working and talking with detectives” and are being “very cooperative.”

The three female victims—Kernodle, Goncalves and Mogen—lived at the home while Chapin had been dating Kernodle and had been staying over.

Fry said on Saturday night Chapin and Kernodle had been at a party on campus while Goncalves and Mogen had been out at the bars before all four returned home to the property.

Mogen and Goncalves were spotted in video footage in line at a late-night food truck at about 1:41 a.m., where they were casually chatting as they waited for their food, according to CNN.

Kernodle’s father, Jeffrey Kernodle, told local station KTVK/KPHO he last heard from his daughter around midnight and “she was fine” and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

“I have no idea. It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “The door locks with a number code. Every time you go, you have to go around the house because of the number code so they either knew that or went around and maybe found the slider door open.”

He said the autopsy report showed that she had tried to fight off her attacker and had “bruises” and was “torn by the knife.”

“She’s a tough kid,” he said. “Whatever she wanted to do, she could do it.”

Jeffrey visited his daughter on campus about a week before her death and said she had been a responsible kid.

“She had a life,” he said. “She got to see what it was like to have a boyfriend you live with. And she really turned around. She was really responsible. Helping him with his studies and stuff. I was really impressed.”

Chapin, a triplet, was remembered by his family as an easy-going guy who loved to make people laugh.

“He could read any situation and make it better,” his mom Stacy Chapin told The Associated Press. “He was just so carefree.”

As the family grieves his sudden loss, his mother said they’ve taken comfort in the type of person he was in life.

“We realized yesterday morning, watching information about our son being posted that didn’t come from us personally, that the greatest gift we could do for our son in this moment is be his voice,” she said.

All four slain students had been active members of the campus’ Greek life. According to the university, Kernodle was a junior majoring in marketing, while Mogen was a senior in marketing and Goncalves was a senior in general studies. Chapin was a freshman, CBS News reports.

The students were remembered Wednesday in a candlelight vigil in their honor, according to Fox News.

“They were vibrant and wild, carefree and loving,” organizer Angela Navejas said.