Idaho student murders: Police believe four killed in ‘targeted attack’
A neighbor of the four murdered University of Idaho students has hit out at the Reddit sleuths who have cast suspicion on him in the wake of the brutal stabbings.
Student Jeremy Reagan said on Tuesday that he has “nothing to hide” but admitted that it was “upsetting being compared to a murderer” after his previous media interviews became the subject of intense scrutiny on social media.
His comments came as Moscow Police Department seized five cars from the home of the victims and took them to “a more secure long-term storage location to continue processing evidence”.
On Wednesday, the Moscow community will hold vigils in honor of slain students Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kerndole and Ethan Chapin, who were found butchered in their beds back on 13 November.
The vigils were delayed until after the Thanksgiving break as terrified students fled the town. Police call logs analyzed by The Independent reveal that, in the aftermath of the murders, locals remain on edge and have called 911 multiple times to report “suspicious” men and other disturbing incidents in the area.
The rumors and conspiracy theories ruled out by investigators
Two weeks have now passed since four University of Idaho students were brutally stabbed to death in the small college town of Moscow – with no suspects identified, no arrests made and the murder weapon nowhere to be found.
Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found murdered in the off-campus home that the three female students shared in the early hours of 13 November.
The four victims were all stabbed multiple times with a fixed-blade knife and are believed to have died at around 3am or 4am that morning.
Their bodies went undiscovered for around eight hours when police were finally called to the home to a report for an “unconscious individual”.
Despite multiple law enforcement agencies being drafted in to work on the case, police appear to be no closer to catching the killer, leaving students and residents of the notoriously safe town racked by fear and social media awash with speculation.
While officials are remaining tightlipped about key parts of the investigation including why they believe the murders were targeted, they have debunked several online rumors and ruled out potential ties to the killings.
This is what police have ruled out so far:
Rachel Sharp30 November 2022 16:50
Weather forces university to move vigil
The extreme weather has forced the University of Idaho to move the vigil in memory of the four victims to a different location.
The university announced the location change on its Twitter page.
“LOCATION CHANGE: Please join the Moscow university community in a candlelight vigil Nov. 30 at the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center at 5 pm #VandalStrong,” read the statement.
Rachel Sharp30 November 2022 16:30
Prosecutor refuses to confirm exact locations of bodies
A local official has refused to confirm the exact locations where the victims’ bodies were found inside the student home.
Latah County Prosecutor Prosecutor Bill Thompson told NewsNation on Tuesday that such information might only be known by the killer.
“As for as the victims who are deceased, I can’t say for sure [where they were found] and that would be one of the details that investigators would want to protect as very few people would know the exact locations of the victims in the house,” he said.
Mr Thompson also said that he didn’t know if the victims’ bedroom doors were left locked.
Police have revealed that two of the victims were found on the second floor, and the other two on the third floor – but have not confirmed who was where.
The two surviving students were in their bedrooms on the first floor of the house.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt previously said that the autopsies showed the victims were “likely” asleep when the killer struck. “Some” of the victims had defensive wounds, she said.
Rachel Sharp30 November 2022 16:10
Police repeat cryptic message about ‘activities’
Moscow Police have reposted a cryptic message about the focus being on the investigation and “not the activities” as they urge people to come forward with any information no matter how big or small.
On Tuesday, the department reposted an earlier release asking for tips about “any odd or out-of-the-ordinary events”.
“Detectives are looking for context to the events and people involved in these murders. To assist with the ongoing investigation, any odd or out-of-the-ordinary events that took place should be reported,” the statement said.
“Our focus is the investigation, not the activities. Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be a piece of the puzzle to help investigators solve these murders.”
Officials appear to be seeking to reassure students who may have encountered the victims in their final hours that they are not interested in any illicit or illegal activities that did not result in the victims’ deaths.
Rachel Sharp30 November 2022 15:50
Prosecutor admits it ‘could be while’ before killer is caught
Local prosecutor Bill Thompson has revealed that law enforcement still doesn’t have any suspects on its radar, admitting that “it could” take some time before the killer is caught.
“I think it’s fair to say that there have been people of interest to the investigators and everyone that they’ve identified so far they’ve been able to exonerate. Perhaps, exonerate isn’t the best word. But they’ve been able to eliminate them as being an actual suspect,” he told NewsNation on Tuesday.
“And we do not have a name of a person or persons who are actual suspects. That’s what they’re focusing on still.
“I’m not aware of any single person with a name that we’re focusing on, the investigators are focusing on.”
He added that “it could” be some time before the case is solved, “or it could break open any time”.
This admission will not be welcome news to the victims’ families or to the terrified students and local residents of Moscow, living in fear that the killer could be walking among them.
Rachel Sharp30 November 2022 15:30
No known link to drugs, no symbols left at crime scene
The killer did not leave any symbols at the crime scene and there is no reason to believe the murders are connected in any way to drugs, according to officials.
Latah County Prosecutor Prosecutor Bill Thompson told NewsNation on Tuesday that he “is not aware of anything like” symbols or signatures being left at the scene.
He added that he not aware of any suspicions that drugs or a drug deal gone wrong played a part in the killings.
His comments come as speculation has been rampant online about the killings as no suspects have been identified 17 days on from the murders.
Rachel Sharp30 November 2022 15:10
Community fears killer will attend vigil
Concerns have been raised that the killer of the four students could show up at the vigils held later today to honor the victims.
The University of Idaho will hold a candelight vigil at the Moscow campus at 5pm local time on 30 November followed by an event at the Boise campus at 6pm.
The university will “honor the memory of Ethan, Xana, Madison and Kaylee,” the university says.
People will also be able to join the vigil remotely.
But with the killer still at large, some are fearful that they will be among the mourners.
“There’s been speculation about that. We understand that there is community concern and fear,” Aaron Snell, communications director with Idaho State Police, said.
“What I can say is that our detectives are on top of their game. We recognize there’s potential contingencies for kind of everything, and so we’re working on that.”
Rachel SharpNov 30, 2022 2:50 p.m.
Officials now admit ‘targeted’ may not be ‘best word’ for Idaho college murders
Officials have now said that “targeted” might not be “best word” to describe the murders of four University of Idaho students – in what marks the latest walkback from investigators left baffled by the violent crime.
From the outset of the investigation, authorities have insisted the attack was “targeted” – but have refused to reveal what has led them to that conclusion.
Officials are also staying silent around whether all of the four victims were intended targets or whether the killer targeted one victim, with the rest simply in the wrong place at the wrong time
Now, the local prosecutor is walking the claim that the killings were “targeted”, admitting it “perhaps isn’t the best word to use” to describe the brutal murders.
“It seems like the word targeted has different understandings for different people who are listening and perhaps isn’t the best word to use,” Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson told NewsNation on Tuesday.
The Independent‘s Rachel Sharp has the full story:
Rachel SharpNov 30, 2022 2:30 p.m.
How a former sorority sister is trying to keep students safe
A University of Idaho alumna has raised almost $20,000 in donations to buy 1,900 personal alarms for terrified students living in Moscow with a murderer at large.
Kerry Ulhorn, a 37-year-old former member of the Delta Gamma sorority, told The Independent that she wanted to help students feel safe in the college town after four sorority and fraternity members were stabbed to death in a brutal knife attack back on 13 November.
“The hope is that these will give the students on campus a small sense of security and also just let them know that their alumni and others deeply care about keeping them and the university that we love a safe space for them to be,” she said .
Rachel Sharp30 November 2022 14:10
Victim’s father reveals moment he learned of daughter’s murder
The father of murdered student Kaylee Goncalves has spoken out about the moment he learned that she had been killed in a brutal knife attack close to the University of Idaho campus.
Steve Goncalves told ABC’s GMA on Tuesday that he was a family member at the campus – and not the local police – who first called him to tell him about the murder.
He said that he then tried to call Madison Mogen – his daughter’s best friend and someone who was part of the family – only to learn that she was also among the victims.
“I realized Maddie was gone too,” he said.
Rachel SharpNov 30, 2022 1:50 p.m.