University of Idaho murders: Authorities quell rumors surrounding unsolved case of 4 University of Idaho students


Authorities in a small Idaho city that hasn’t recorded a murder in years are urging the public to be alert to rumors and speculation surrounding the unsolved killings of four college students last month.

The Nov. 13 stabbing at his Moscow home near the University of Idaho’s main campus has been shrouded in painful mystery, leading the campus community to fear a suspect or suspects are still at large.

“Speculation without factual basis can spark fear in the community and spread false facts,” the Moscow Police Department said in a news conference on Friday. “We encourage to refer to official releases for accurate information and the latest developments.”

Kelly Gonsalves, 21; Madison Morgan, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; Knold’s boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20, may have been at Was stabbed multiple times in his sleep a few days before the Thanksgiving holiday. The horrific deaths have rocked Moscow, a university city of about 25,000 people that hasn’t recorded a single murder since 2015.

Nearly three weeks later, police have neither found the murder weapon nor arrested anyone. But in an effort to clear up false information about the case, Moscow police debunked several theories of what they called “rumor control”.

None of the quadruple homicide victims were tied up and gagged, refuting online reports. Reports of a dog being “skinned” in the weeks before the killings were not related to the case, while animal carcasses left on resident properties elsewhere were determined to be wildlife activity, according to police.

In addition, police noted that the student’s killing was unrelated to two other stabbings in Washington state and Oregon — in 1999 and 2021 — which may “have similarities” but “do not appear to have any evidence The supporting cases are relevant,” according to their press release.

Police also assured the public that an incident in September involving an altercation between a group of people walking on a University of Idaho bike path and a cyclist who displayed a jackknife was unrelated to the student killings.

“The person involved has turned himself in and the charges have been transferred to the Moscow City Prosecutor’s Office,” the police said.

While police said they did not know who the killer was, they had released information that ruled some people out as suspects, the most recent being listed on the lease of the residence where the killing took place, police said Friday.

“They have spoken to the person and confirmed that they moved out before the start of the school year and were not present at the time of the incident. Detectives do not believe the person had any connection to the murder,” Moscow police said.

Police also ruled out two surviving roommates who were in the home at the time of the homicide and others who were in the home when 911 was called. Police said Friday that the person who called 911 after the killing had not yet been identified.

Goncalves and Mogen were two victims who bought food from a truck hours before they were killed and were driven home by someone — the driver of whom authorities have ruled out as a suspect.

Additionally, a man seen on surveillance footage of a food truck visited by Gonsalves and Morgan, and another man whom the pair called “multiple times” in the hours before their death, were also identified. Police ruled it out as a suspect.

People attend a Nov. 30 vigil as four University of Idaho students stand at Kibbie Dome as their families talk about their loved ones in Moscow, Idaho.

It’s unclear how close authorities are to releasing information on one or more potential suspects. “Only vetted information that does not hinder the investigation will be released to the public,” Moscow police noted on Friday.

But some details that authorities have released since the investigation began need further clarification.

This week, Moscow police took note and retracted comments from the Rata county prosecutor, which said that “the residence was specifically viewed by the suspect” and that “one or more occupants were undoubtedly targeted.”

Moscow police said Wednesday that there was a “miscommunication” between departments and that “detectives currently do not know whether the residence or any of its residents were specifically targeted.”

On Thursday, Moscow police sought to clear up key conflicting information once and for all.

“We remain confident that this was a targeted attack, however investigators have yet to determine whether the residence or residents were targeted,” police said in a release.

Authorities also need to clarify other information, including initially saying on Nov. 15 that the attack was “isolated” and “targeted” and did not pose an imminent threat to the community. The next day, Moscow police chief James Frye said police were not sure whether the public was in danger.

On November 30, police surrounded the home where four University of Idaho students were killed in Moscow, Idaho.

Moscow police said Thursday that the evidence collected so far includes 113 physical exhibits, about 4,000 crime scene photos and several 3D scans of houses.

Detectives have already received testing and analysis of crime scene evidence from the Idaho State Police Forensic Service, and they will continue to receive results from additional testing, according to police.

“To protect the integrity of the investigation, specific results will not be released,” police said.

Detectives also collected the contents of three dumpsters on the street where the house is located and impounded five nearby cars for evidence processing, according to police.

As for the murder weapon – believed to be a straight-edged knife – detectives contacted local businesses about purchasing the knife in the days before the killing.

Investigators also relied on numerous publicly available leads, photos and videos from the night of the student’s death, including more than 260 digital media submissions from people on FBI forms, police said. Authorities have processed more than 1,000 reports and conducted at least 150 interviews to move the case forward.

Additionally, multiple agencies and law enforcement officials are investigating the homicide. More than 30 employees, including detectives, patrol officers and Moscow police support staff, are working on the case, police said at a news conference on Friday.

The FBI has sent 22 investigators in Moscow, 20 special agents across the country and two investigators from the agency’s behavioral analysis unit, police said.

In addition, 20 Idaho State Police investigators were dispatched to Moscow, and 15 more uniformed officers were patrolling the neighborhood. The State Police’s Forensic Service and Mobile Crime Scene Squad are also working on the case.

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