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Idaho students were stabbed to death in their beds, coroner says

Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said that each victim suffered multiple stab wounds from a "pretty large knife."

SPOKANE, Wash. — Four University of Idaho students who were found dead in a rental house last Sunday were stabbed to death in their beds and likely were asleep when the attacks occurred, according to the Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt.

Some of the victims had defensive wounds and each was stabbed multiple times, the Moscow police said in a release Friday, confirming what the coroner had said in an interview on Thursday.

"It has to be somebody pretty angry in order to stab four people to death," Mabbutt told NewsNation.

Mabbutt's comments and the release from police expanded on the autopsy reports released on Thursday, which concluded the four students were murdered by being stabbed to death.

Two other roommates were in the house at the time of the murders. Moscow police said Friday they do not believe the roommates were involved in the crimes. Detectives also don't believe a man seen in food truck surveillance video was involved. 

An update from Moscow police on Saturday night indicates that the other two roommates were out separately in the community hours before the killings, but that the two returned to the home before 1 a.m., and did not wake up until later on Nov. 13.

Saturday's update also indicates that the private party driver who brought victims Kaylee and Madison home in the early hours of Nov. 13 has been investigated and is not believed to be involved in the crime.

The killings have shaken Moscow, an Idaho Panhandle town of 25,000 residents that last saw a homicide about five years ago. The leafy college town is about 80 miles (129 kilometers) south of Spokane, Washington.

Officers have not identified a suspect, Moscow Police Chief James Fry has said.

Moscow police have contacted local businesses to determine if a fixed-blade knife had been recently purchased, but no murder weapon has been found. Detectives seized the contents of three dumpsters on King Road in hopes of locating possible evidence.

All four victims were members of fraternities and sororities: seniors Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; junior Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and freshman Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington. The women were roommates. The bodies were found around noon Sunday.

Idaho State Police (ISP) released a map Friday outlining the timeline of events leading up to the students' deaths.

Nov. 12, 8-9 p.m. Chapin and Kernodle attend a party at Sigma Chi fraternity
Nov. 12-13, 10 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Mogen and Goncalves go to the Corner Club, a bar in downtown Moscow
Nov. 13, 1:40 a.m. Mogen and Goncalves go to the food truck, Grub Truck, on Main Street
Nov. 13, 1:45 a.m. All four return to the home on King Road

Credit: TEGNA
On Nov. 18, 2022, Idaho State Police released a map showing a timeline of events leading up to the killing of four University of Idaho students on Nov. 13.

Investigators used footage from a Twitch video showing Mogen and Goncalves at the food truck to help form the timeline of events. 

As reported by our news partner KTVB in Boise, ISP identified and interviewed a man that appears in the video wearing a dark jacket and light hoodie. ISP says he has been interviewed and says he is not a suspect or person of interest at this time, according to KTVB.   

Police have said evidence found at the scene leads them to believe that the students were targeted, though they haven't given details. Investigators say nothing appears to have been stolen from the victims or the home.

After initially saying there was no ongoing danger, police walked that back on Wednesday. 

"We cannot say that there is no threat to the community," Fry said. "We still believe it's a targeted attack. But the reality is there still is a person out there who committed four very horrible, horrible crimes."

Fry declined to specify who called 911. There was no sign of forced entry at the home, according to the chief, and a door was found open by the first police officers to arrive.

The Moscow Police Department is receiving support from the FBI, Idaho State Police and Latah County Sheriff's Office. According to police, dozens of FBI and ISP investigators, as well as other specialized positions.

If anyone can provide relevant information to the investigation, has surveillance footage or was near the areas of those killed and observed suspicious behavior, call the police tip line at (208) 883-7180 or email tipline@ci.moscow.id.us.

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