Big pieces missing in murder case

  • In US
  • 2022-11-25 14:16:00Z
  • By Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho

Nov. 25-Twelve days after it happened, the murder of four University of Idaho students remains a source of grief for the Moscow community and region in general. And it remains frustratingly unsolved.

The Moscow Police Department has released some pieces of information about the deaths of Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves. Some details are being kept under wraps. And other crucial information about what transpired is still being sought by investigators, as they search for the perpetrator of the grisly killings.

Here is a timeline of what took place that weekend and in the days since.

Chapin, 20, of Conway, Wash., and Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, who were dating, were seen at a Sigma Chi party from 8-9 p.m. Nov. 12 on Nez Perce Drive.

Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho, and Mogen, 21, of Coeur d'Alene, were seen at the Corner Club from 10 p.m. Nov. 12 to 1:30 a.m. Nov. 13. They then visited the Grub Truck on Main Street at approximately 1:40 a.m. before making their way back to the King Road residence at approximately 1:45 a.m. after getting a ride from a male, who police say isn't a suspect.

Chapin and Kernodle also arrived at the King Road residence at approximately 1:45 a.m. Police haven't said where the couple were between the Sigma Chi party and when they returned to the residence. Kernodle lived there; Chapin was visiting.

Two other roommates, who haven't been named and who aren't suspected in the crime, had been out in the Moscow community separately, but returned to the home by 1 a.m.

After returning to the residence, Goncalves and Mogen made several calls to a male. One of Goncalves' sisters later said the calls were placed between 2:30 a.m. and 2:52 a.m. Police have said the male they were calling isn't a suspect.

The four victims were murdered in the early morning hours Nov. 13 at the King Road residence. For several hours, the scene of the crime remained undiscovered.

Late in the morning Nov. 13, the two surviving roommates summoned friends to the residence because they believed one of the second-floor victims had passed out and was not waking up. At 11:58 a.m., a 911 call was made from inside the residence on one of the surviving roommates' cellphone. Multiple people talked with the 911 dispatcher before a Moscow police officer arrived at the location. None of the people present for the 911 call is suspected in the crime. Officers entered the residence and found the four victims on the second and third floors.

Detectives are seeking all outside surveillance video taken from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Nov. 13 from businesses and residences in the area of West Taylor Ave (north boundary), West Palouse River Drive (south boundary), U.S. Highway 95 south to the 2700 block of U.S. 95 (east boundary) and the UI Arboretum & Botanical Garden (west boundary).

At about 1 p.m. Nov. 13, a Vandal Alert is sent out about "a homicide on King Rd. near campus." The alert advises people to shelter in place. About 90 minutes later, a second alert said the police didn't believe there was an active threat and people didn't have to shelter in place, but they were advised to remain vigilant.

On the morning of Nov. 14, the Moscow police released the identity of the students who were murdered. "The Moscow Police does not believe there is an ongoing community risk based on information gathered during the preliminary investigation," the department said in a news release.

On the morning of Nov. 15, the police announce "an edged weapon such as a knife" was used in the murders. They also said they believed this to be "an isolated, targeted attack and there is no imminent threat to the community at large."

On the afternoon of Nov. 16, three days after the murders, the police held their first news conference. Police Chief James Fry said investigators still believe this to be "an isolated, targeted attack on our victims," but did acknowledge that "we cannot say that there is no threat to the community," since the suspect isn't in custody.

Autopsy results confirming the victims were murdered by stabbing were released Nov. 17. "It would have had to been a large knife," Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said.

Two more news conferences were held Sunday and Wednesday. Other than a few people being ruled out as suspects, not many new details about the crime were shared with the media and public. "We told the public very clearly from the beginning that we believe it was a targeted attack," Moscow Capt. Roger Lanier said. "To be honest, you're going to have to trust us on that at this point, because we're not going to release why we think that."

So far, no suspects have been publicly identified and the murder weapon has not been found.

A candlelight vigil will be held to honor the victims at 5 p.m. Wednesday on the lawn of the UI Administration Building in Moscow.

Can you help?

Detectives are looking for context to the events and people involved in these murders. Anyone who observed notable behavior, has video surveillance, or can provide relevant information is asked to call the tip line at (208) 883-7180, email to or upload digital media at


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