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Remembering Idaho murder victims: Who was Ethan Chapin?

Chapin was a triplet with a brother and a sister. He was a lifelong athlete who loved the NFL and country music.

MOSCOW, Idaho — Ethan Chapin, 20, one of the four students killed near the University of Idaho’s campus, was from Conway, Wash. and is remembered as a talented athlete, a loving son and brother and "a shining light."

Chapin was killed on Nov. 13 in a home near the University of Idaho’s campus alongside his girlfriend Xana Kernodle and her two roommates, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.

Chapin was a triplet with a brother and a sister. He was a lifelong athlete who loved the NFL and country music. He played on the basketball and tennis teams at Mount Vernon High School.  

Chapin started at the University of Idaho in 2021 and joined the Sigma Chi fraternity. Both of his siblings also attend the university and his brother was in the same fraternity. Chapin was majoring in recreation, sport and tourism management at the university.

At a vigil held at the University of Idaho's campus on Nov. 30, Chapin's mother said her main message was to urge all present to spend time with their loved ones. 

"We are eternally grateful that we spent so much time with him," Stacy Chapin said. "Make sure that you spend as much time as possible with those people, because time is precious, and it's something you can't get back."

In late November, friends planted tulips around the Skagit Valley to honor Chapin. Reese Gardner and Andrew Miller met Chapin when they worked together in the valley's tulip fields. 

 "He was one of the few people that there was nothing bad about him. He was 100% pure. He was honest, just a great person," said Gardner, 18.

Miller was Chapin's boss on the farm.

"Tulips are a big part of what it means to grow up in the Skagit Valley and enjoy Skagit Valley, but our youth is our number one export," said Miller. "We send them all over the world. I think this is a way we can honor that every spring and remember Ethan."

"He made everyone's lives a little bit better no matter what, and I just think something like that shouldn't be forgotten," added Gardner.

In the spring they will bloom yellow and white to symbolize joy and peace. The gardens are being called "Ethan's Smile" because of the positivity he radiated. They will serve as a living, loving reminder of a life taken away before it could fully bloom.

What happened the night of the murders

On Nov. 12, Kernodle and Chapin attended a Sigma Chi fraternity party together. They went back to Kernodle’s rental house on King Road at about 1:45 a.m.

Kernodle received a DoorDash delivery at about 4 a.m., according to a probable cause affidavit. Phone records show Kernodle was using TikTok on her cellphone at 4:12 a.m.

Investigators believe the four students were killed between 4 a.m. and 4:25 a.m.

Later that day, Kernodle and Chapin were found dead in the same room on the second floor of the house.

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