Press conference leaves more questions than answers

Knife used to stab victims; door was already open upon officer’s arrival



University of Idaho president C. Scott Green giving his condolences to the families of the homicide, Nov.16.


Article was corrected on Nov.18. 

With tears in his eyes, University of Idaho President Scott Green addressed a press conference Wednesday about the homicides that took the lives of four UI students on Sunday.  

“My deepest condolences to the families and friends of Ethan, Kaylee, Xana and Madison,” Green said. “Their loss has been devastating; they were bright lights in our community and are deeply missed and remain in our thoughts and prayers.”

Moscow Police Chief James Fry said the homicides occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

Two of the victims had attended a party earlier that evening, with the other two seen downtown at a local food truck before returning home around 1:45 a.m. Police did not respond to the residence until noon when they received a report of an unconscious person, he said. 

Upon arriving, the door was open, and police discovered the bodies of four victims, Ethan Chapin, 20; Xana Kernodle, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21. 

Fry said there were no signs of forced entry but could not comment on whether the victims were found in different areas of the home. 

Investigators are unsure whether the door was locked prior to the homicides but stated there was no property damage. Based on details at the scene, Fry said they believe it was an isolated, targeted attack. 

“We cannot say that there is no threat to the community,” he said. “Stay vigilant, report any suspicious activity and stay aware of your surroundings at all times.”

While Moscow’s Mayor Art Bettge previously called the homicides a “crime of passion,” the police department could not stipulate whether it is one thing or another. All four victims are being treated as such, Fry said. 

The department believes a knife was used to stab the victims, but they still have yet to locate the weapon and a suspect or person(s) of interest. Fry said police also discovered two other individuals at the scene; both unharmed and were not held hostage.

Moscow PD is currently unable to disclose the identity of the 911 caller or comment further about the other individuals present. However, Aaron Snell, communications director of the Idaho State Police, said while no one is being ruled out of the investigation, both are being cooperative. 

Fry said the investigation is a team effort consisting of Moscow PD, Idaho State Police, Latah County Sheriff’s Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The departments will continue collecting evidence at the scene as the investigation develops a timeline of relevant events. 

Individuals with any known information on the case or leads should contact the Moscow PD at 208-883-7180, he said. 

“We know you have questions,” Fry said. “So do we.”