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The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

One year later: Vigil held honoring victims of University of Idaho murders

Over 300 people gathered to listen to friends about their memories of the four victims
Students in the crowd of the vigil

University of Idaho held a vigil in honor of the one-year anniversary of the deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin Monday night.

On Nov. 13, 2022, the four were murdered in their off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho, and a year later the over 300 students and members of the community gatheredbon the Administration Lawn on the UI campus to remember Goncalves, Mogen, Kernodle and Chapin.

Steady streams of students walking from Greek Row poured onto the Administration Lawn, yet all was silent while friends, family, and supporters gathered to listen to friends talk about their memories of the four.

Candles were available for students to hold during the vigil, illuminating the audience from front to back.

Tanner McClain, Associated Student Body President for U of I, spoke before the friends of the victims.

“For that entire day, [Nov. 13 2022], our student body experienced a range of emotions that cannot be quantified: shock, anger, and sadness were all felt among our students that day,” McClain said.

McClain said that the holding of the vigil was to demonstrate the love the student body has for the four.

Those who were not able to attend the vigil were encouraged to turn on their porch lights from 6–7 p.m. in remembrance of Goncalves, Mogen, Kernodle and Chapin.

UI in Moscow was not the only campus to hold a vigil Monday night as UI Boise Law School also held a vigil.

“No matter where you find yourselves tonight the Vandal family is here,” McClain said.

Before friends of the four spoke candles were lit across the lawn, others sharing their candlelight to light up the lawn that was originally standing in darkness.

Heather Blaschka was the first to speak on behalf of Mogen who was accompanied by her friend Audrey Halls.

“When reaching out to friends there were many kind words that were used to describe Maddie, the most common being: kind, loving, genuine, driven, stunning, outgoing. The list could go on for forever but most of all, bright,” Blaschka said. “Maddie was one of the first Pi Phi’s I ever met. She was so welcoming and I knew if there were people like her there Pi Phi was a great place to be.”

After each friend presented a moment of silence was shared among the crowd in remembrance of each person.

Alpha Phi president, Madison Whitney, spoke next on behalf of Goncalves and all of the members of her sorority. She was joined by her sorority sister Molly Grey.

“When I first met Kaylee I was an incoming freshman who just ran home on bid day. I got to know Kaylee through her position as big/little chair.” Whitney said.

Whitney then read a letter on behalf of Goncalves’ sorority little sister Jaiden Anderson.

“Kaylee Goncalves had a contagious laugh. I mean you could hear it in the other room, it was so unapologetically her. I miss this laugh every day. She laughed often at herself and with others. Kaylee was beautiful inside and out,” Anderson’s note said.

After Whitney shared Alpha Phi’s memories of Goncalves another moment of silence was cast amongst the crowd.

Next to speak was Xanna Miller on behalf of Kernodle. Miller was joined her friend Elise Von Bargen.

“A lot of people saw her as the life of the party, everyone strived to be a little like Xana. A little more vibrant, adventurous, kind, outgoing, empathetic, positive, charming, bright and warmhearted.” Miller said.

Miller asked her sorority Pi Beta Phi to describe Kernodle in a few words and one of her close friends told Miller – you could not describe her because she was everything and more.

Miller described the grief Pi Phi experienced after Kernodle’s death, however, also said that through those hard times and cherishing the time they had with Kernodle their bond grew stronger.

Another moment of silence was held after Miller’s speech.

The last person to speak was D.J. Myers, Chapin’s fraternity brother from Sigma Chi.

“I remember him coming up and introducing himself to me right away and it only took him about 30 seconds before he had me laughing hysterically,” Myers said. “I think about that first day in Sigma Chi with Ethan every single day.”

However, Myers found that he could not discuss Chapin without discussing Kernodle.

“E and Xana are soulmates. They complemented each other’s personalities as perfectly as I have ever seen with a couple and it is a bittersweet feeling because although they were taken from us way too early at least we know they are up there together,” he said.

In his speech, Myers said he wished to give both Kernodle and Chapin one last big hug.

The last moment of silence fell over the crowd and McClain returned to the stage to wrap up the vigil.

McClain thanked those who spoke at the vigil and for the support cast out from communities far and wide. The vigil was peaceful yet devastating and ended in silence with those dispersing back home.

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About the Contributor
GABRIELLE BOWMAN, Evergreen news co-editor
Gabrielle is a sophomore multimedia journalism major from Bremerton, WA. Gabrielle has worked for the evergreen since Oct. 2022.