University of Idaho Murders What We Know So far


According to reports, four students from the University of Idaho were discovered dead at an off-campus residence on Sunday November 13th in a case police have deemed a homicide.

The Moscow Police Department released the names of the victims as Ethan Chapin, 20, Conway, WA; Madison Mogen, 21, Coeur d’Alene, ID; Xana Kernodle, 20, Avondale, AZ ; and Kaylee GonCalves, 21, Rathdrum, ID and confirmed that all four were students at the University of Idaho.

Soon after police made their announcement, Scott Green, the President of University of Idaho, released a statement via Facebook.

“It is with deep sadness that I share with you that the university was notified today of the death of four University of Idaho students living off-campus believed to be victims of homicide,”Green wrote.

Police are appealing to calm panicked students who fled campus after they were not able to identify any suspects. Multiple classes were cancelled indefinitely. A faculty member posted that he couldn’t in good conscience give another class until the suspect was taken into custody.  

“We hear you, and we understand your fears,”Police released a statement. “We do not believe there is an ongoing threat for community members.”

The murders that has baffled a community and left citizens on edge has made national headlines, here is what we know so far.

November 14

Police say in a statement to the media that they responded to a call November 13 just before noon of an unconscious person and upon arrival they found four dead individuals.

Because the authorities suspected the scene to be homicides, CBS News reports that it “generally means the killing of one person by another, though the term doesn’t necessarily suggest death was intended or committed in a criminal manner.”

University of Idaho cancels classes on November 14 in what the president of the school said was “Out of respect for these fellow Vandals, classes statewide and online are canceled.”

Some classes could then be cancelled permanently.

“The Moscow Police Department gives our heartfelt condolences to family members, friends and the Moscow community,”Authorities stated this in a press release.

November 17

A chilling video of two University of Idaho students, shot before their brutal murder and the deaths of two of their friends on Nov. 13, is helping to show the extent of the violence that took place in the hours preceding the killings.   

After going to a bar, Kaylee Congalves was seen with Madison Mogen at a popular food truck close by campus. A man is seen watching them in surveillance footage.  

Mogen embraced a friend after he placed his order. Congalves recorded a video of them walking off together after they had finished eating. The man noticed the young woman and gestured towards them before he walked off.

Police believe they know his identity.  

Congalves’s sister, Alivia, watched the footage for Inside Edition.   

“Kaylee was aware of her surroundings. Maybe a little overly aware which is also why all of this is so confusing for us,”She said. “Kaylee is not stupid. She’s a smart girl, she’s a strong girl, she’s a mean girl. She’s a fighter.”  

Ethan Chapin’s parents spoke out to KING 5 as well to dispel rumors.

“There is not drugs involved, there is not some weird love triangle. He had stayed the night at his girlfriend’s house, who was one of five girls who lived in the home,” Stacy Chapin, Ethan Chapin’s mother, told KING 5.

“We’re just trying to process it,”She spoke. “It’s not a call that you think that you’re going to, have to speak with the funeral home directors, and the FBI and have it hit national news.”

Investigators working to solve the mystery of students have been visiting stores asking if there had been any sales of what’s called a Rambo knife, leading some to wonder if such a blade was used to carry out the killings.

Rambo knives are made of seven-inch steel blades that are partially serrated.

The weapon used in the stabbing deaths of the four students is still not located by police. They were found dead between 3 and 4 AM on Nov. 13. Police are searching dumpsters in an attempt to find the weapon.

Although there was a keypad lock on the front of the house where the killings occurred, victims’ friends claim that not everyone knew how to access it. There’s also a sliding door at the rear of the house that may have been unlocked.

Authorities are not able to say where the bodies of the four victims were found in the house with six bedrooms and three baths.

Two other roommates were also found in the house at the time the four students were killed, according to authorities. Moscow was able to save them from the horror.

Police Chief James Fry said cops weren’t called to the house until nine after the murders took place.

The police retracted their claim that there was no threat to students and said, “We cannot say there is no threat to the community. please stay vigilant report and suspicious activity be aware of your surroundings at all times.”

Police said that they do not believe there was any connection to an incident in September, when a man with knives confronted several people at a student center.

November 18

The 911 call that started the investigation was not made either by one of the two roommates. They were both unharmed in this attack. This led many to question who made that call to authorities, and how did they make this horrifying discovery.

Mark Fuhrman is a former LAPD detective, who was responsible for the investigation of the 1994 murders Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman at the O.J. Simpson murder case. Fuhrman is now in Idaho, and claims Kaylee Goncalves had been stalked.

“I talked to one student, and I agree it was twice removed from the person that said it, Kaylee, but Kaylee two months ago complained about a stalker,”Fox News interviewed him.

The murderer apparently entered the bedroom of two young women who were living in the six-bedroom, 3-bathroom house without attacking them.

“Their story was, they heard partying, they heard noise, but they just, as usual, said, there’s partying going on and they locked the door,”Fuhrman said. Fuhrman said that the two roommates, who were not injured in the attack, are not suspects and are cooperating with the investigation.

Each of the four students who were killed was stabbed several times. Some had defensive wounds that showed they fought with their attackers. There was no sexual assault. Cathy Mabbut, county coroner, described the killings: “personal”And that the victims were found in bed.

Kernodle’s father said her wounds showed she fought for her life.

“She had bruises caused by the knife or whatever. She’s a tough kid,”He stated. “Whatever she wanted to do, she could do it.”

November 19

Dr. Casey Jordan is a top national criminal profiler and spoke to Inside Edition about the possible motives for the deaths of four of his students.

“You could have somebody who is a potential serial killer who has been thinking about doing this for a very long time,”He tells Inside Edition. “If the fantasy was fulfilled, then the fantasy will bloom even larger and very often, we will find a perp who feels compelled to do it again.”

Jordan asserts that Jordan is suggesting a stronger possibility: the victims may have been friends with their killer.

“Statistically it is most likely someone from that community, most likely somebody who was in the house before or … invited in those early morning hours, we can’t rule that out,”He said.

He also said that the use of a large knife (possibly a Rambo-style combat knives) with a seven-inch-long blade and a part of which is serrated is telling.

“We can’t rule out that there is a sexual nature to it,”He said. “In criminology we often talk about picquerism … an assailant who is stabbing with a knife in place of sexual activity sometimes because of a lack of ability to perform.”

The 911 call that triggered the investigation was not made by the roommates. They were both unharmed in this attack. Many are now curious as to who made the call and how they made the shocking discovery. They may have been asleep during the entire attack.

Jordan says it is completely plausible that they didn’t hear anything.

“It makes sense … the victims were sleeping, caught by surprise… and perhaps the stabbing quieted them instantly,”He said. “So that each one of them didn’t know what happened to the others and the two others woke up at noon and had no idea what had happened.

“I think these roommates are traumatized and had nothing to do with the attack,”He said. “I am very certain that if they had anything to do with it, they would have been called in and arrested by now.”

The attackers did not inflict any injuries on the roommates, who are now cooperating with the investigation.

Jordan believes that the case is likely to prove difficult.

“Mostly because if you don’t catch them within the first 48 hours and they have left town and you don’t have DNA evidence, they could be anywhere at any time thinking about doing it again,”He said.

November 20

The local pet dog was discovered “skinned”According to reports, the deaths of these two men occurred just weeks prior the assassination of the four students. There were fears that the two could have been connected.

Buddy, a mini Australian shepherd 12-year-old, was skinned by Pam and Jim Colbert. When he was released from their Moscow home, on Oct. 21, he was left with fur on his legs, and was later killed, the New York Post reported.

According to the New York Post, Buddy was found three miles away from the home off-campus where four of the students had been found dead.

“It was like a deer that someone had hunted,”Pam Colbert (78), told the Daily Mail. “They cut him around the neck and just skinned him. His little legs had fur and his little face had fur, but the rest of him was just skinned.”

She also described the dog to her as “a wonderful, loving and loyal friend”. “cut like you filet a fish. We found his collar, but we didn’t find the pelt,”In her interview with The Daily Mail

“The other side of him was as though they had filleted him like they were about to eat him. It was terrible, unbelievable,”She continued.
Inside Edition Digital reached Pam Colbert to request comment, but has not heard back.

The news of Buddy’s killing sparked fears in the community that the two incidents could be linked, however, the Latah County Sheriff’s Office does not believe so at that this time.

Inside Edition Digital is informed by the spokesperson for Latah County Sheriff’s Office in an email. “We have nothing to indicate these two cases are connected in anyway.  We have passed all the relevant information from this case to the Moscow Police Department.  We do think the dog was killed by a human.”

On Nov. 20, police confirmed to us that there were more than two roommates in the off-campus residence where four students were stabbed to death when the 911 call was made.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry revealed that the 911 call was made from one of the roommates’ phones on the 20th. However, he wouldn’t confirm the identity of the caller.

Fox News reported that the police said they are still unable to identify any suspects in the Idaho student slayings.

Fry also stated that while police don’t know how many people were inside the house at the time of the 911 call, they do know that there were. “other friends that had arrived at the location”CBS News reported that they were present but did not indicate when they arrived.  

Police posted a cautionary Facebook message about the rumors that were swirling around the case.

“Rumors and speculation continue circulating about the ongoing investigation. MPD cautions the public not to rely on rumors and remains committed to keeping the public informed. We urge reliance on official channels for accurate information,”They wrote.

The Moscow Police Department says that anyone who observed notable behavior, has video surveillance, or can provide relevant information is asked to call the Tip Line at 208-883-7180 or email


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