Confusion over Idaho killings as police backtrack on ‘targeted’ allegation, accuse prosecutor of ‘miscommunication’

Confusion continues to mount over the unsolved University of Idaho murders as investigators appear to backtrack on their claim that one or more of the victims were ‘targeted’ in the brutal attack and charge the local prosecutor of “miscommunication”.

The Moscow Police Department released a statement on Wednesday saying they “do not currently know” whether the killer specifically targeted the victims or the off-campus house on King Road that became the site of the bloodbath.

“Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but are continuing to investigate,” the statement said.

The statement came after Latah County District Attorney Bill Thompson made conflicting statements about the nature of the crime this week.

On Tuesday, he appeared to backtrack on the long-held belief that the killings were targeted, saying that “may not be the best word to use”.

“It seems the word targeted has different meanings for different people listening and may not be the best word to use,” he told NewsNation on Tuesday.

“At the end of the day, whoever is responsible for this is still at large – it cannot be changed. From what I understand, the investigators believe the responsible person was looking specifically at this particular residence, but that’s all they can offer at this point. »

Mr Thompson added that investigators were unable to confirm “at this stage” whether one or more of the students were the intended target.

On Wednesday, he then gave a different interview where he told KTVB that “the attack was aimed at a specific person.”

Hours later, Moscow police posted a “clarification” on their Facebook page stating: “Contradictory information has been released in the past 24 hours. The Latah County District Attorney’s Office said the suspect(s) specifically examined this residence and that one or more of the occupants were undoubtedly targeted.

“We spoke with the Latah County District Attorney’s Office and identified that this was a misunderstanding. Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted, but are continuing to investigate.

The so-called clarification has only added to the confusion around the case as it contradicts several previous statements made by officials.

Since the four students – Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin – were stabbed to death on November 13, investigators have called the attacks “targeted”.

They have used the phrase in multiple press conferences and media interviews while refusing to reveal what led them to this conclusion or if only one of the victims was the intended target – the others simply being in the wrong place in the wrong place. moment. .

At the start of the investigation, Moscow police even went so far as to insist that there was “no imminent threat” to the wider community, as it was “an attack isolated and targeted” – although she doesn’t even have any suspects on her radar.

Three days after the murder, they later backtracked on that claim, admitting that – with the perpetrator still at large – “there is a threat” and urging the public to remain “vigilant”.

Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves (top left), Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin (bottom left) were stabbed to death at the off-campus house (right)

(Jazzmin Kernodle/The Moscow-Pullman Daily News/AP)

At the latest press conference given on the case last week, Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier doubled down on his belief that the victims were “targeted”, telling the public that “you’re going to have to trust us over it”.

“We made it very clear to the public from the start that we believe this was a targeted attack,” he said.

“To be honest, you’re going to have to trust us at this point because we’re not going to reveal why we think that.”

The latest reversal comes as investigators continue to be bewildered by the case, with no arrests made, no suspects identified and the murder weapon still untraceable 18 days after the murders.

The four victims were allegedly stabbed to death in their beds around 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. on November 13 with a fixed-blade knife, police said. There were no signs of sexual assault on any of the victims.

Two of the victims were found on the second floor and two on the third floor of the house.

On the night of November 12, Kernodle and Chapin were together at a sorority party at the Sigma Chi house and returned home around 1:45 a.m.

Goncalves and Mogen had spent the night at The Corner Club bar in downtown Moscow, before stopping by a food truck and then heading home from an unnamed “private party” to arrive at the property around 1:56 a.m. morning.

Two surviving roommates had also been out that night and returned home around 1 a.m., police said. The two women, who lived in bedrooms on the first floor of the house, reportedly slept during the brutal killings and were not injured.

The gruesome crime scene went unnoticed for several hours as police received a 911 call at 11.58am on Sunday reporting an “unconscious individual” at the home.

The other two housemates had initially called friends at home because they believed one of the victims on the second floor was unconscious and would not wake up. When the friends arrived, a 911 call was made from the phone of one of the housemates.

Police arrived at the scene to find the four victims dead from multiple stab wounds.

Vigil held Wednesday for the four students killed

(NewsNation)

Several people have been ruled out as suspects: the two surviving roommates, the man who was photographed with Mogen and Goncalves in a downtown food truck before they returned home the night of the murder, the person who gave Mogen and Goncalves returned home from the food truck, Goncalves’ longtime ex-boyfriend and friends who were at the house when the 911 call was made have all been ruled out as suspects.

Officials are now hoping a break will finally come as early crime scene lab results have started to come back.

Idaho State Police Communications Director Aaron Snell told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that investigators are beginning to receive forensic test results.

“I know every type of test… some take longer than others. And I also know that there have been results that have been returned and those are going directly to the investigators, so that they can help, again, paint the picture that we keep talking about,” he said. -he declares.

Mr Snell declined to reveal whether DNA not belonging to the four victims or the two surviving housemates had been found at the crime scene, as it is hoped forensics can finally provide clues to lead police to the killer.

But with officials admitting they still don’t have a person of interest or suspect on their radar, the small college town has been rocked by fear.

Police said there had been an increase in 911 calls following the murders, with terrified residents reporting multiple sightings of “suspicious people” as well as incidents involving the city.

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