The University of Idaho will offer in-person and online learning opportunities for the final two weeks of the semester, University President Scott Green announced Tuesday. The move comes as police continue their search for the person(s) who murdered four students at a house off campus days before the Thanksgiving break.
As vandal families pursue the murder investigation — which has so far turned up no suspects — some consider sending their students back to campus pending arrest.
In response, the university leadership asked faculty to offer in-person and online study options to accommodate students who may not be returning to Moscow in the last two weeks of the semester. Faculty will communicate course-specific options directly to students.
In a press release Tuesday, Green nodded to the families of the four victims — Ethan Chapin, 20, a freshman from Mount Vernon, Washington; Kaylee Goncalves, 21, a senior from Rathdrum; Xana Kernodle, 20, a junior from Post Falls; and Madison Mogen, 21, a senior from Coeur d’Alene – who are heading into the holiday season with heavy hearts.
“As we gather with family and friends this week, think of those who have empty seats at their tables,” Green said. “Remember the mourners. This senseless crime has shaken us all. It has also brought us closer, inspired people to support one another and do selfless acts of kindness. I am grateful to this vandal family for that.”
While university officials continue to focus on students and families, police continue to investigate the quadruple homicide.
The Moscow Police Department held its third press conference on Wednesday since the case began. Little new information emerged, but law enforcement officials reiterated their commitment to solving the killings and asked the public for patience.
“The loss of these students remains a top priority for the Moscow Police Department,” said Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier.
Chapin, Kernodle, Goncalves, and Mogen were stabbed to death in the early hours of November 13. Investigators are still searching for the fixed-blade knife or knives used in the quadruple homicide.
Officials are also looking for more information on a suggestion that Goncalves may have had a stalker – a claim the investigation has so far been unable to confirm.
The department claims the killings were targeted attacks but will not comment on the details that led to the decision in order to protect the investigation. Still, Lanier on Wednesday encouraged students to remain vigilant, travel in pairs, and notify others when departing from or arriving at their location.
Since the November 13 murders came to light, the U of I has increased its own security forces and the Idaho State Police have increased their presence on campus. The university is also asking Greek life chapters on campus to review their own safety protocols.
Increased mental health and grief resources continue into the week after Thanksgiving. In addition to additional academic support, advisory services are also available for students and employees.
A vigil in memory of Chapin, Goncalves, Kernodle and Mogen will be held on November 30th at 5pm PST at the Moscow campus. A final location will be announced later in the week. A concurrent vigil will be held in Boise at the U of I Water Center that same evening at 6:00 p.m.
The university will continue to monitor the investigation and review its curriculum accordingly into the new year.
The previous situation
Investigators released a timeline of the whereabouts of the slain students before the killings took place. They encourage anyone with information to call 208-883-7180 or email [email protected] with tips.
Chapin and Kernodle attended a party at the Sigma Chi fraternity home and returned home at 1:45 a.m. on Sunday. Goncalves and Mogen also returned home at 1:45 a.m. after visiting a bar, The Corner Club, and a food truck in downtown Moscow.
They were taken home by a private party driver who police said was not involved in the murder. A person in a white hoodie, seen in footage of the two girls at the food truck, is also not a suspect.
All four victims were stabbed multiple times and were probably asleep when the attacks took place. They were found on the second and third floors of the six bedroom house.
Two roommates survived the attack, but police said they were not involved. The first call reporting the crime came from one of the roommate’s phones. Several people spoke to the dispatchers, and none are believed to have been involved in the crime.
Investigators are also aware of multiple calls made from Mogen’s and Goncalves’ phones to a male subject this Saturday night, but Moscow Police Chief James Fry said police on Sunday did not believe the calls were linked to the killings.
Over 100 officers, investigators and assistants from the Moscow Police Department, Latah County Sheriff’s Office, ISP and Federal Bureau of Investigation are involved in the case.
And up to $1 million was given to Gov. Brad Little’s investigation, Colonel Kedrick Wills announced Wednesday. The governor is a graduate of the university.
Police have received over 1,000 leads and conducted 150 interviews since the case began. They collected 103 pieces of evidence and 4,000 photos, and performed multiple 3D scans of the crime scene.
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