Idaho college murders: Six people may have lived in house where students were killed, police say

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CNN

Six people may have lived in the house where four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death last month, police say.

“Investigators know of a sixth person who could potentially have lived at the residence. That person was not at the residence the night of the murders,” Idaho State Police spokesman Aaron Snell told CNN.

Snell did not provide the name of the sixth person and it is unclear if the person lived on the property at any time.

Three women who lived in the off-campus house, as well as the boyfriend of one of them, were found stabbed to death on November 13 in the house in Moscow’s university town, upsetting a community that had not recorded a single murder since. 2015. The students murdered were Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kernolde’s boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20.

Authorities had previously said only five people lived at the property: Goncalves, Mogen and Kernodle, along with two other roommates not publicly identified by investigators. An employee of the property management company told CNN that six people are listed on the lease for the house, but did not disclose their names.

After a day of confusing statements, police said Thursday they still believe the attack was targeted, but stressed they have not concluded “whether the residence or its occupants were targeted.”

Thursday’s police statement on the attacks comes after police corrected a prosecutor’s comments on the matter, and in the process said something that seemed to depart from their earlier stance on a case that has put the college town on edge. , with no arrests made and no reason announced. .

It also comes in the middle frustration of the relatives of the victims and some members of the community due to the limited disclosure of the details of the investigation and the changing characterizations of the case by officials, including authorities going back about whether the community still faced a threat.

The latest sequence began on Wednesday, when Moscow police released a declaration saying the prosecutor in Idaho’s Latah County erroneously said this week that “the suspects specifically observed this residence” and “that one or more of the occupants was undoubtedly attacked.”

How definitive the prosecutor’s statements were, however, reflected a “lack of communication,” Moscow police said in the statement on Wednesday.

But the statement added: “Detectives do not currently know if the residence or the occupants were targeted specifically, but are continuing to investigate.”

That was a different tone from what the police had been saying: that they believed the attack was targeted.

On Thursday, a police spokesman tried to clarify the matter:

“We remain consistent in our belief that this was in fact a targeted attack, but we have not concluded whether the target was the residence or its occupants,” Snell, who has also been speaking for Moscow police, told CNN on Thursday. .

Details about the comments police say the prosecutor made, including when and to whom they were delivered, were not immediately available. CNN has asked the prosecutor’s office in Latah County, where the university is located, for comment.

For weeks, police have said they believe the attack was targeted, but have offered no details as to why.

On November 15, the Moscow police said they preliminarily “believe that this was an isolated targeted attack and that there is no imminent threat to the community at large,” and that “the evidence indicates that this was a targeted attack.”

The next day, the police retracted some of that, saying they couldn’t actually tell if there was a threat to the public.

Still, as the investigation progressed, authorities publicly maintained that investigators believed the killings were targeted, including during a police press conference on November 20.

Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are still working to determine who is responsible for the murders. At least 150 interviews have been conducted and more than 1,000 tips received from the public, police say.

No suspects have been identified and the murder weapon, believed to be a fixed-blade knife, has not been found. Authorities said they have not ruled out the possibility that more than one person may be involved in the stabbings.

People attending a vigil for the four University of Idaho students who were killed fill the Kibbie Dome before the start of the event, Wednesday in Moscow, Idaho.

Wednesday’s police statement came on a day when the campus community gathered to pay their respects to the murdered students.

The university community gathered at the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center, also known as the Kibbie Dome, to honor the lives of the four students. School officials and three of the four families spoke about how they would miss all four after their sudden deaths.

“The circumstances that bring us here tonight are dire,” said Stacy Chapin, Ethan Chapin’s mother. “The hardest part: we can’t change the result.”

Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves have been friends since sixth grade, Steve Goncalves said.

“They just ran into each other, and every day they did homework together, they came to our house together, they shared everything,” she said. “In the end, they died together, in the same room on the same bed.”

Attendees stand at the Kibbie Dome as family members speak Wednesday about loved ones killed in Moscow, Idaho.

“When I look at all of you, there’s only one way for this to get a little better, to heal a little… you’re just going to have to love each other,” Goncalves added.

Ben Mogen, the father of Madison Mogen, shared memories of his love for live music, his hard work ethic and how meaningful it was for him to be able to experience love with his boyfriend.

While it’s unclear how long the investigation will take or “why this horrible act,” the community will “go through this together,” said Blaine Eckles, dean of students at the university.

He also encouraged everyone to “tell the funny stories, remember them in the good times, and not let their lives be defined by how they died, but remember them by the joy they brought and the fun times they shared while they lived.”

Eckles also reminded students of the different resources available to them, such as counseling, and sharing their feelings with those around them.

A flyer seeking information on the murders of four University of Idaho students is displayed on a table along with buttons and bracelets during a vigil Wednesday for the victims in Moscow, Idaho.

Since the discovery of the attack, researchers have built a timeline of the last known whereabouts of the four students.

On the night of the murders, Goncalves and Mogen were at a sports bar, and Chapin and Kernodle were seen at a frat party.

Investigators believe all four victims had returned to the home at 2 am the night of the stabbings. Two surviving roommates had also been out in Moscow that night, police said, returning to the house at 1 a.m.

Police initially said Goncalves and Mogen returned to the home at 1:45 a.m., but later updated the timeline and said digital evidence showed the couple returned at 1:56 a.m. after visiting a food truck. and being driven home by a “private party.” ”

The next morning, two surviving roommates “called friends at the residence because they believed one of the victims on the second floor had passed out and was not waking up,” police said in a statement. Someone called 911 from the house at 11:58 using the phone of one of the surviving roommates.

When the police arrived, they found two victims on the second floor and two victims on the third floor. There were no signs of forced entry or damage, police said.

Investigators do not believe the two surviving roommates were involved in the deaths.

A coroner determined that all four victims were stabbed multiple times and were likely asleep when the attacks began. Some of the students had defensive wounds, according to the Latah County coroner.

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