Police Said The Killing Of Four Friends In A Home Outside Of The University Of Idaho Campus Was A Targeted Attack

The four students were close friends and often posted photos with each other on Instagram.

Four University of Idaho students were found dead at a home off campus on Sunday in what police say was a targeted attack, leaving the town of Moscow reeling as authorities search for a suspect.

The students were identified as Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20. Based on photos posted on social media, they were close friends, and Chapin and Kernodle were in a relationship.

Moscow police said they responded to a call about an unconscious person at around noon on Sunday. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the four students dead.

Investigators believe that an edged weapon like a knife was used in the killings, although no weapon was found at the scene.

As of Wednesday evening, a suspect had not been taken into custody, and the weapon had not yet been located.

During a press conference on Wednesday evening, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said due to "details of the scene," authorities believe that this was an "isolated, targeted attack" and that the "individual is still out there."

Fry added that there is no imminent threat to the community at this time, but urged residents to be "vigilant reporting suspicious activity" and to "be aware of your surroundings at all times."

On Wednesday, authorities also revealed that Chapin and Kernodle were at a party on campus, and Goncalves and Mogen were at a downtown bar. They arrived home sometime after 1:45 a.m., Fry said.

"There was no sign of forced entry into the residence," Fry added. "Investigators are continuing to collect evidence at the scene."

The authorities have asked anyone in the community who has any information about the victims' whereabouts on the evening of Nov. 12 and the early morning of Nov. 13 to call their tip line so investigators can continue piecing together the timeline of events.

Authorities confirmed that the autopsies were taking place on Wednesday, and police said they hoped the results would provide more definitive information on the exact cause of the deaths.

Investigators have remained tight-lipped about the details of the investigation. However, the Moscow mayor, Art Bettge, told Fox News that they were killed at around 3 or 4 in the morning.

The mayor did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Moscow Police Department directed BuzzFeed News to its latest news release.

Hours before they were killed, according to local officials' timeline, Goncalves posted a series of photos on Instagram with Kernodle, Mogen, Chapin, and other friends.

"one lucky girl to be surrounded by these ppl everyday," she wrote in the caption.

Goncalves, from Rathdrum, Idaho, was one of five children, KREM reported. In a statement shared with KREM, Goncalves's family described her as tough and fair, and "the ultimate middle child."

"She did absolutely everything she set her mind to. She didn't hold back on love, fights, or life. Kaylee was the ultimate go-getter and constantly wanted an adventure," they said.

Mogen, from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was a marketing senior in the College of Business and Economics, the university said.

She and Goncalves had gone to high school together and were especially close, the Goncalves family said.

Like Mogen, Kernodle also majored in marketing in the College of Business and Economics. She was a junior and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.

Both friends also worked as servers at Mad Greek, a local restaurant.

"Xana and Maddie have been servers here for several years and brought so much joy to our restaurant and all of those they encountered. Maddie was also the face behind our social media pages," the restaurant's owner said on Facebook.

Kernodle's sister said in a statement to KREM that she was positive, funny, and "loved by everyone who met her."

"She was so lighthearted, and always lifted up a room," her sister said. "She made me such a proud big sister, and I wish I could have had more time with her. She had so much life left to live."

Kernodle was dating Chapin, a first-year student from Mount Vernon, Washington. Her last Instagram post was dedicated to his birthday.

"life is so much better with you in it, love you!" she wrote.

Chapin was majoring in recreation, sport and tourism management in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. He was also a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.

At the start of the fall 2022 semester, Mogen posted a photo with Goncalves, Kernodle, and two other women on Instagram.

"meet the roommates," she wrote in the caption.

Topics in this article