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Murder investigation underway after 4 University of Idaho students found dead in a home near campus

The Spokane County Medical Examiner has completed the autopsies on the four students. The Latah County Coroner will be the one to make the official announcement.

MOSCOW, Idaho — Police are investigating the murders of four students at a home near the University of Idaho.

The Latah County Coroner has ruled the official cause of death was stabbing for all four victims.

According to police, two of the victims were at a party on campus away from the crime scene early in the evening. The other two victims were at a bar and came home at 1:45 a.m.

When police arrived at a home on King Road in Moscow for a wellness check on Sunday, Nov. 13, officers found four victims. Police say there were no signs of forced entry into the residence. When officers arrived, the door was still open.

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, the Moscow Police Department (MPD) held a press conference with Idaho State Police and University of Idaho President C. Scott Green to provide more information on the investigation into the homicide.

Police are still saying that this was an isolated, targeted attack. The suspect(s) is still on the loose. They also can not say there's no threat to the community. There was no attempt at robbery. Officers did not reveal who the 911 caller was.

Moscow Police do not currently have an accurate timeline of where the victims were before their deaths. The location of the murder weapon is still unknown.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Moscow Police at 208-883-7054.

The University of Idaho said a vigil for the students had been scheduled for Nov. 30, after Thanksgiving break. 

Remembering the victims

The victims have been identified as:

  • 20-year-old Ethan Chapin from Conway, Wash. He was a freshman majoring in recreation, sport and tourism management and was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
  • 21-year-old Madison Mogen from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. She was a senior majoring in marketing and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority 
  • 20-year-old Xana Kernodle from Post Falls, Idaho. She was a junior marketing major and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.
  • 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves from Rathdrum, Idaho. She was a senior majoring in general studies and a member of the Alpha Pi sorority. 
Credit: KREM

RELATED: Skagit County man among 4 found dead near University of Idaho

Moscow Mayor Art Bettge issued a statement on the student deaths on Monday, stating in part:

I am deeply saddened by the events that occurred on November 13th which claimed the lives of four of our community members. It is impossible to understand the senselessness of events like this, and we all are seeking answers that are not yet available.

"There's no rhyme or reason to any of this," Bettge told KREM 2. "And I think it's a symptom of broader issues in our society, where violence is resorted to more frequently than discussion or working through problems."

Moscow police and Idaho State Police are still working to "identify exactly what happened," according to Bettge.

"I wish we could say we'd made more progress in identifying exactly what happened," he said. "But, this is a very complex scene, very complex area, and we're just gonna have to wait for the police to work through it all, and find out what's actually happening and give us information as information becomes fact instead of speculation."

The University of Idaho canceled classes on Monday, Nov. 14, out of respect for the students who died. All campuses will remain open and classes will resume on Tuesday, the University said in a letter to students.

The University of Idaho has support available for students and staff impacted by the deaths.

Students can reach out to the Counseling and Testing Center on the third floor of Mary Forney Hall or call 208-885-6716 for support. Press option three for immediate support in the evenings and on weekends.

Students can also visit the fourth floor of the ISUB from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday for immediate drop-in counseling support. Students can also visit the Dean of Students Office in TLC 232.

Employees of the University of Idaho can use the EAP resources available through their benefits.

A GoFund Me has also been set up for Kaylee and Maddie and another one for Xana.

Washington State University Chancellor and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Chilton also released a statement on Monday, stating in part:

I am heartbroken to learn of the deaths of four University of Idaho students over the weekend and extend my sincerest sympathies to the families and friends of Ethan, Kaylee, Madison, and Xana, and the entire Vandal community for this tremendous loss.

This is a developing story. KREM 2 News is working to confirm more details. We will update this story with the latest information as we learn more. 

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