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Skagit County man killed near University of Idaho remembered as shining light

Stacy and Jim Chapin say their son Ethan was someone who had a love for life and a love for others. He had just turned twenty years old.

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — Earlier this week, Stacy and Jim Chapin got the call that no parent ever wants to receive. 

“We're just trying to process it,” said Stacy Chapin, Ethan Chapin’s mother. “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.”

They received the call their son Ethan Chapin had been killed. Ethan’s siblings were the ones who shared the news with their parents.

Ethan was among four students who were found dead in a home near the University of Idaho over the weekend. They are said to have been killed with an “edged weapon” on Sunday night.

Ethan was originally from Skagit County and graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 2021.

Ethan was a triplet. His parents say they were all so close that they even attended college together. They all just celebrated their 20th birthday a few weeks ago.

Extended Interview: Parents of Ethan Chapin say he was the 'comedian of the family'

“We have these other two kids that are very impacted by this and they need to be lifted up and cared for,” said Stacy Chapin.

They say Ethan was the comedian of the family and was a lover of country music and all kinds of sports.

“Anything, he played it. He played it literally,” his parents laughed. 

“We just watched a thing from the university, he was a spike ball champion, a volleyball champion. I mean, he just literally would play and do anything,” Stacy Chapin said.

They say this investigation and the national attention has been overwhelming, and they wanted to clarify what they say is misinformation surrounding the case.

“The things that are being said are 100% not true,” said Stacy Chapin. “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.”

They say his girlfriend, Xana Kernodle, was one of the other victims.

Ethan’s parents say they just saw him last weekend, at the University of Idaho’s parent's weekend, and say they felt so proud and at ease.

“As we pulled out of Moscow, we literally were like, we've done it,” Stacy Chapin said. “We've literally done it as parents. We've created three incredible humans that will go on and have something great to offer to the world.”

But now, a week later, the future looks much different and their lives are forever changed. Their focus is now on supporting Ethan’s two other siblings and trying to keep his light alive.

“If everyone was like Ethan Chapin in this world, it would be a better place,” said Stacy Chapin.

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