Officials say all fourat a home near campus on Sunday are believed to be victims in the case, but police have yet to release the cause of d*ath or other details of the investigation.
Police discovered the students’ bodies just before noon after responding to a report of an unconscious person in a house a few steps from a campus in Moscow, Idaho. The victims have been identified as Ethan Chapin, a 20-year-old from Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, from Rathdrum, Idaho.
The Moscow Police Department has described the d*aths as “killings”, but maintains that there is no active threat to the community.
The university said Chapin was a freshman and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and Kernodle was a junior marketing student and a member of the Pi Beta Phi fraternity. Mogen was also a marketing graduate and a member of Pi Beta Phi, while Goncalves was a senior general studies student and a member of the Alpha Phi fraternity, the university said. The university also listed Chapin and Kernodle’s hometowns differently than those listed in the Moscow Police Department communiqué: the school said Chapin was from Mount Vernon, Washington, and Kernodle was from Post Falls, Idaho.
Mogen and Kernodle worked at Mad Greek, a family restaurant just over a mile from the house where the students were found, the company said on Facebook. Owners he wrote a heartfelt tribute to the two students.
“Xana and Maddie were waiters here for several years and brought so much joy to our restaurant and everyone they met,” the restaurant wrote, noting that Mogen also managed most of their social media. “…We will miss you very much. Thank you for being part of our family/team and for helping us so much over the years. Until we meet again.”
Goncalves’ family has released an emotional statement regarding the loss of their daughter and sister KREM-TV affiliated with CBS.
“Kaylee was, is and will always be our protector and protector,” the family wrote in part. “…She did absolutely everything she set out to do. She didn’t hold back on love, fights or life.”
In the statement, the family also asked that people “refrain from spreading harmful rumors” about the d*aths of the four students.
University of Idaho president Scott Green said all students were “killed” in tragic circumstances – said the mayor of Moscow, Art Bettge all four students were considered victims in the investigation. Moscow Police Captain Anthony Dahlinger told the Idaho Statesman Monday night that none of the dead students are considered responsible for the d*aths.
The students likely died between 3 and 4am, but were not discovered for hours, Bettge said.
“Police arrived at noon, nothing happened between and after, so it seemed like an exceptional event that must not happen again,” Bettge said. He said this timeline helped authorities determine there was no active risk.
Dahlinger declined to confirm or deny Bettge’s description of the timeline.
The university canceled classes on Monday and said additional security personnel were available to guide students around campus if needed for the remainder of the week.
Still, the lack of information on the cause of d*ath – and the fact that police said no one was in custody – left many parents worried about campus safety, with some students leaving early for Thanksgiving.
In a memo released Monday afternoon, University of Idaho president Scott Green urged university staff to be empathetic and flexible and to work with students who chose to skip classes to spend time with their families.
“Words cannot adequately describe the light these disciples have brought to this world, nor can they ease the depth of suffering we feel at their passing in these tragic circumstances,” Green wrote of the students killed.
Police said anyone with information should contact the department at 208-883-7054 and ask that the victims’ family and friends’ privacy be respected.
Brian Nickerson, head of the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department and EMS, said police were the first to arrive at the house. First responders from the fire department and EMS did not enter or transport anyone from the scene, Nickerson said.
Moscow is a compact college town located in the rolling hills of north-central Idaho, about 80 miles southeast of Spokane, Washington.
A vigil for the dead students is scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m. on the university’s administration lawn, said University of Idaho spokesman Kyle Pfannenstiel.
Shortly after Moscow police announced a homicide investigation, University of Virginia students were also told to take shelter in the area after police said a suspect shot colleagues on a bus as they returned from a school trip. Three members of the school football team were killed and two other students were injured in the shooting. The shooting sparked an intense manhunt on Sunday, and authorities announced on Monday that the suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., had been arrested.
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