Autopsies expected to be completed later this week could provide more information about how the victims were killed
University of Idaho students found dead
Four University of Idaho students found dead in an off-campus home were attacked, and the killer(s) used a knife or other “sharp weapon” in the attack, police said Tuesday.
The Moscow City Police Department made the announcement in a news release, adding that investigators were working to establish a schedule to recreate the activities of the victims before they were found dead on Sunday. Police said the killings likely occurred in the early hours of the morning and the bodies were found around midday.
The deaths of the students were deemed “an isolated and targeted attack and there is no imminent threat to the wider community,” according to police, who earlier said evidence from the scene led them to believe there was no increased risk. Police did not provide information about that evidence or why they believe the victims were targeted.
Autopsies expected to be completed later this week could provide more information about how they were the victims were murdered.
Investigators were “pursuing all leads and identifying persons of interest” in the case, according to the news release. However, on Monday night, Police Captain Anthony Dahlinger told the Idaho Statesman that officers were searching for a suspect.
Police discovered the bodies of the students on Sunday when they responded to a report of an unconscious person in a house a few steps from campus. The victims were identified as Ethan Chapin, a 20-year-old from Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Ariz.; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho.
The university canceled classes Monday and said additional security personnel were available to escort students around campus if necessary for the remainder of the week.
Still, the initial lack of information about the cause of the deaths, and the fact that police have said no one is in custody, led many students to leave campus early, days before Thanksgiving break began. Thanks.
The house where they were found (Zach Wilkinson/The Moscow-Pullman Daily News via AP)< p class="paragraph">A vigil for the slain students originally scheduled for Wednesday night has been postponed until after the Thanksgiving break, University of Idaho spokesman Kyle Pfannenstiel said in an email on Tuesday. Tuesday.
In an earlier memo, University of Idaho President Scott Green, urged university employees to be empathetic and flexible and to work with students who decided to drop classes to spend time with their families.
“Words cannot adequately describe the light these students brought to this world or ease the depth of suffering we feel at their passing in these tragic circumstances,” Green wrote of the slain students.
Police said anyone with information should contact the department and asked that people respect the privacy of the victims' family and friends.
Brian Nickerson, fire chief of the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department and EMS, said that the police were the first to arrive at the house. First responders from the fire department and EMS did not enter or remove anyone from the scene, Nickerson said.
City of Moscow is a tight-knit college town located in the foothills of north-central Idaho, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Spokane, Washington.
The university said Chapin was a freshman and member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and Kernodle was a junior majoring in marketing and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. Mogen was a senior majoring in marketing and a member of Pi Beta Phi, and Goncalves was a senior in general studies and a member of Alpha Phi sorority,the university said. The university also had a different hometown for Chapin and Kernodle than the cities listed in the Moscow Police Department statement: The school said Chapin was from Mount Vernon, Washington, and Kernodle was from Post Falls, Idaho. p>
Shortly after Moscow police announced the homicide investigation, students at the University of Virginia were also told to shelter in place after police said a suspect shot other students on a bus as they were returning from a school field trip. The shooting left three members of the school's soccer team dead and two other students wounded. The shooting sparked an intense manhunt Sunday, and authorities announced Monday that a suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., had been arrested.
(With information from AP)