A timeline of the killings of four University of Idaho students
The killing of four University of Idaho students this month in their off-campus home has prompted investigative efforts by the FBI, state police and city police in Moscow.
More than a week later, there is no suspect or murder weapon, and police have been tight-lipped on what they know.
Still, they have provided some information on the killings, and a preliminary timeline reveals how those killed spent some of their final hours, as well as the investigative response.
Saturday, November 12
Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were students at the University of Idaho who lived at a nearby off-campus residence in Moscow, a college town of about 25,000 people.
They had two other roommates at the three-floor, six-bedroom apartment.
Goncalves posted a series of photos on her Instagram at some point with the caption, “one lucky girl to be surrounded by these ppl everyday.” One of the photos shows Mogen sitting on Goncalves’ shoulders, with Chapin and Kernodle standing next to them.
That night, Chapin and Kernodle went to a party on campus, and Mogen and Goncalves went to a downtown bar, police said.
Sunday, November 13
Mogen and Goncalves ordered at a late-night food truck at about 1:41 a.m., the food truck’s live Twitch stream shows.
They ordered $10 worth of carbonara from the Grub Truckers and wait for about 10 minutes for their food. As they waited, they could be seen chatting with each other and with other people standing by the truck.
The two students did not seem to be in distress or in danger in any way, said Joseph Woodall, 26, who manages the truck.
Mogen, Goncalves, Chapin and Kernodle returned to the home at some point in the early morning hours.
At about noon Sunday, a call came in to 911 about an unconscious person at an off-campus residence. Police did not say who called 911.
Arriving officers found the door to the residence open and discovered the bodies of four fatally stabbed students.
“It was a pretty traumatic scene to find four dead college students in a residence,” Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt later told CNN affiliate KXLY.
There was no sign of forced entry or damage, police said.
Moscow Police issued a statement saying four people were found dead in a home off campus. University of Idaho President Scott Green announced the four victims were students and canceled classes Monday.
Monday, November 14
Moscow Police issued a statement identifying the four homicide victims as Chapin, Goncalves, Kernodle and Mogen.
Police said details were limited and no one was in custody. They added that Moscow Police “does not believe there is an ongoing community risk based on information gathered during the preliminary investigation.”
Moscow Mayor Art Bettge released a statement calling the deaths “senseless acts of violence.” Bettge said only limited information could be shared without “jeopardizing the integrity of the investigation.”
Green issued a statement offering condolences to the victims’ families and the community.
“Moscow police do not believe there is an ongoing community risk based on information gathered during the preliminary investigation, however, we ask our employees to be empathetic, flexible and to work with our students who desire to return home to spend time with their families,” he said.
Tuesday, November 15
Moscow Police issued a statement saying an “edged weapon such as a knife” was used in the killings. No suspects were in custody and no murder weapon had been found, police said.
“Also, based on information from the preliminary investigation, investigators believe this was an isolated, targeted attack and there is no imminent threat to the community at large,” police said.
Later in the day, police released another statement that attempted to calm fears of a killer on the loose.
“We hear you, and we understand your fears,” police said. “We determined early in the investigation that we do not believe there is an ongoing threat for community members. Evidence indicates that this was a targeted attack.”
Wednesday, November 16
Police Chief James Fry held a news conference — the department’s first in the case — and reiterated there was no suspect. He also backtracked on the assurances of no one at risk.
“We cannot say there’s no threat to the community,” Fry said. “And as we have stated, please stay vigilant, report any suspicious activity and be aware of your surroundings at all times.”
The two other roommates were home at the time of the attack and were not injured, Fry said.
“There was other people home at that time, but we’re not just focusing just on them, we’re focusing on everybody that may be coming and going from that residence,” he said.
Thursday, November 17
The university’s often-packed parking lots had many empty spots after scores of students decided to return home or leave the area.
“Everybody kind of just went back home because they’re scared. … It’s definitely uneasy on campus right now,” student Nathan Tinno told CNN.
That no perpetrator had been caught elevated the sense of fear on campus, said Tinno, adding the community was trying to approach the tragedy with sympathy.
Friday, November 18
The victims were “likely asleep” before they were attacked, police said Friday evening.
Detectives by then had conducted 38 interviews with people “who may have information” about the killings and had taken the contents of three dumpsters near the house in case they held evidence, they said.
Investigators also asked local businesses if there had been any recent purchases of a “fixed-blade knife,” according to the police update.
Hoping for tips from the community, investigators released a map and timeline of the victims’ movements last weekend.
The map shows the four students spent most of the night separated in pairs.
“Most definitely someone somewhere has a tidbit of information that will help break this case open and we believe the public around here will have that information for us,” Idaho State Police spokesperson Aaron Snell said.
The victims were found on the second and third floors of their home, Snell told CNN.
Mabbutt, the coroner, told CNN she saw “lots of blood on the wall” when she arrived at the scene. She confirmed there were multiple stab wounds on each body — likely from the same weapon — but would not disclose how many wounds nor where most were located.
Saturday, November 19
Authorities spent about two hours at the crime scene on Saturday as a part of the investigation.
“We’re trying to expedite everything that might possibly lead to a suspect,” said Latah County prosecutor Bill Thompson, who was there.
“I wish we had more answers, and they’re still asking questions,” Thompson said.
Sunday, November 20
One week after the bodies of the four students were discovered, authorities still had no suspect or weapon, Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier said.
Police had fielded 646 tips and conducted more than 90 interviews, Police Chief Fry said at a news conference.
Fry declined to identify who placed the 911 call from the home where the students were slain, saying only the call came from the phone of one of the surviving roommates. He wouldn’t confirm which one placed the call.
There were other “friends that had arrived at the location,” Fry said, adding the person who called 911 is not a suspect.
Monday, November 21
The family of victim Ethan Chapin came together to grieve at a memorial.
Stacy Chapin described her son Ethan as “one of the most incredible people you will ever know,” ahead of a service in Mount Vernon, Washington.
The family expressed thanks to its community and extended family and friends, whom Stacy Chapin called “beacons of strength.” She also expressed gratitude to strangers across the country who had reached out to express support.
“Your outreach and kind words are profoundly touching. Please know we now consider all of you friends,” Chapin said while flanked by family members.
She also thanked the Moscow Police Department, saying its investigators “now carry the burden every day not only for us, but for all of the impacted families.”
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