Moscow Police Deny Online Rumors About University of Idaho Murders


Moscow police and state investigators denied online rumors about the homicides of four University of Idaho students during a news conference Sunday afternoon, urging members of the public to rely on official sources for information about the slayings.

It's been a week since the students were stabbed to death in their beds, shaking the small town of Moscow and the University of Idaho community. A week later, detectives have still not identified a suspect, and speculation has run rampant.

The four victims are freshman Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Skagit County; seniors Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; and junior Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho. The women were housemates, and Chapin was dating Kernodle. All four were members of fraternities and sororities.

University of Idaho President C. Scott Green said the university is asking instructors to prepare for both in-person and remote learning, as some students express concerns about returning to campus.

"We will be communicating decisions early this week so that families can discuss and plan their individual response over the Thanksgiving break," Green said.

The initial 911 call was placed from inside the house at 11:58 a.m. on King Road from the cellphone of one of two surviving roommates, the Moscow Police Department announced Saturday evening. The call requested aid for an unconscious person.

Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier reiterated that the department ruled out several individuals as potential suspects that had been circulating online: the two surviving roommates, a man seen at the food truck when Mogen and Goncalves were recorded at shortly before 2 a.m., and a private party who gave Mogen and Goncalves a ride home.

He said any information about the identify of the 911 caller is speculation, and any online reports that the victims had been tied and gagged are untrue.

Investigators said Mogen and Goncalves made several phone calls to a male subject between 2 and 3 a.m., as several online outlets had reported.

Detectives believe that on Nov. 12th, the two surviving roommates had spent the night out in Moscow separately, returned home by 1 a.m., and did not wake up until later on Nov. 13th.

Some of the victims were found with defensive wounds, and all had been stabbed multiple times. Police Chief James Fry said investigators do not know how an individual killer was able to stab four people without waking the two surviving roommates.