Cops Issue 'Clarification' on Murder of Idaho Students

Police say they're not sure if University of Idaho classmates were targeted
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2022 10:00 AM CST
Cops Aren't Sure Murdered Idaho Students Were Targeted
People attending a vigil for the four University of Idaho students who were killed on Nov. 13 listen to family members talk about the victims on Wednesday in Moscow, Idaho.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The four University of Idaho students murdered Nov. 13 might not have been targeted after all, according to the Moscow Police Department. The Latah County Prosecutor's Office recently said one or more attackers "specifically looked at this [off-campus] residence" and "one or more of the occupants were undoubtedly targeted." But police blamed a "miscommunication" Wednesday, clarifying that "detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted." Police have previously suggested the attack was targeted—including as recently as Nov. 20, per CNN—but have also spoken of other possibilities.

Detectives haven't recovered the murder weapon, thought to be a fixed-blade knife, or identified any suspect. That's despite collecting more than 113 pieces of physical evidence, per CBS News. They've also received more than 1,000 tips from the public and conducted at least 150 interviews. Noting "the why in this horrific act" remains unknown, Blaine Eckles, the university's dean of students, spoke at a Wednesday vigil, urging those who knew the victims to "remember them in the good times and do not let their lives be defined by how they died," per CNN.

Steve Goncalves said his 21-year-old daughter, Kaylee, had died alongside 21-year-old Madison Mogen, her friend since sixth grade. "They shared everything," he said. "In the end, they died together, in the same room in the same bed." They'd returned home from a bar at 1:56am, about 10 minutes after Ethan Chapin and his girlfriend, Xana Kernodle, both 20, who'd been at a fraternity party. It's believed the four were attacked between 3am and 4am while asleep on the second and third floors of the home. Each was stabbed multiple times, and some had defensive wounds. Two uninjured roommates, who'd returned home by 1am, are believed to have slept through the attack. (More University of Idaho stories.)

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