Families of Idaho murder victims speak out in emotional vigil: ‘In the end, they died together, in the same room, in the same bed’

As hundreds of students wept together inside the University of Idaho stadium on Wednesday night, family members of four classmates killed urged them to look up from grief and focus on love and the future.

“The only cure for pain is love – it’s the only thing that’s going to heal us, it’s the only thing that’s going to heal you,” Steve Goncalves, Kaylee Goncalves’ father, told the gathered crowd. during the vigil. “It will make a difference, and it’s something that they can see where they are right now: that you’ve changed your life a little bit, that you’re a little nicer, a little nicer.”

Some in the crowd stood and wiped their eyes remembering Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Kernodle’s boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20, of Mount Vernon, Washington. The four were stabbed to death Nov. 13 at a rental house near campus in the quiet college town of Moscow, Idaho, and law enforcement has yet to name a person of interest in the case. Fear that the killer might strike again has prompted many students to complete the semester by taking classes online from the perceived safety of their hometowns.

University of Idaho's Dead Four
A photo of Maddie Mogen, who was one of four University of Idaho students killed Nov. 13, 2022, is shown as her father, Ben Mogen, speaks Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, during a vigil for the four students from Moscow, Idaho.

Ted S. Warren/AP

As a result, similar scenes unfolded across the state as simultaneous candlelight vigils were held in multiple cities. In downtown Boise, several hundred people put their hands around candle flames outside a University of Idaho building. High schools in some cities lit up their sports fields as a sign of solidarity. Homeowners have been asked to leave their porch lights on as a show of support.

Ben Mogen, Madison’s father, told the crowd in Moscow that she was his only child, so “everything she did was so important”. Talking about “Maddie” was her pride, Mogen said, and the two loved going to music concerts together.

“When I’d meet people since she was born, and they’d be like, ‘Tell me about yourself,’ the first thing I’d say was, ‘I have this girl – here’s a picture of her, she’s on the dean’s list in college, she works hard, she has all these friends in her sorority,'” Mogen said.

Madison’s best friend was Kaylee. The girls met in sixth grade, Kaylee’s father, Goncalves, told the crowd, and were inseparable friends from that point on.

University of Idaho's Dead Four
Steve Goncalves speaks about his daughter, Kaylee Goncalves, Nov. 30, 2022, at a vigil in Moscow, Idaho.

Ted S. Warren/AP

“They went to high school together, then they started looking for colleges, they came here together. They finally moved into the same apartment together,” Steve Goncalves said. “And in the end, they died together, in the same room, in the same bed.”

“It’s a shame and it hurts, but the beauty of always being together comforts us,” he said.

Xana Kernodle’s family was unable to attend the wake.

Ethan Chapin’s mother, Stacy Chapin, fought back tears as she said she was there with her husband and with Ethan’s triplet brother and sister.

Like other families, the Chapin family always tried to eat dinner together when the weather permitted and spent countless hours taking the kids to various sporting events when they were younger. The triplets chose the University of Idaho because they wanted a small town and a beautiful campus with a thriving Greek system, she said.

Today, despite the terrible circumstances of Ethan’s death, the family is “eternally grateful to have spent so much time with him,” Chapin said.

“This is the most important message we have for you and your families – make sure you spend as much time as possible with these people, because time is precious and it’s something you can’t get back” , Chapin said.

Little new information has been released about the investigation into the murders and no suspects have been identified. A county coroner said the four were likely asleep when they were attacked. Investigators have yet to find the fixed blade knife used in the murders.

Vigil at the University of Idaho for four students found dead in their residence in Moscow, Idaho
Ben Mogen, father of victim Madison Mogen, speaks during a vigil at the University of Idaho for four students found dead in their residence hall on November 13 in Moscow, Idaho, U.S. November 30, 2022 .


Police said Tuesday that detectives have now moved five vehicles from the crime scene to a storage location where they will continue to examine them and process the evidence. A video released by Fox News showed the snow-covered cars being towed away.

Governor Brad Little announced last week that he was allocating up to $1 million in state emergency funds for the investigation. The FBI has assigned 44 people to the case – half of them stationed in Moscow – and the Idaho State Police has 15 soldiers assisting community patrols and 20 other investigators working on the case. .

Local law enforcement has seen an increase in calls reporting suspicious behavior.

“We understand that there is a sense of fear in our community,” the Moscow Police Department wrote on November 27. Since the murders, the number of people requesting social checks, in which an officer is sent to check on a person’s well-being, has doubled.

The university has also seen an increase in the number of people calling its Vandal Care hotline to report they are struggling or fear someone else is struggling with a problem, the dean of students at the university said on Wednesday. college, Blaine Eckles.

“While I am personally very confident that the police will solve (the deaths), until that happens no one will rest easy,” he said. “There’s someone out there who took the lives of four of our Vandals, and we don’t know who they are. We don’t know where they are.”

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