Idaho murders: Moscow police backtrack on whether students killed were ‘specifically targeted’

It is not clear if the four students from the University of Idaho killed in a quadruple homicide last month were targeted, police said Wednesday, contrary to previous statements made about the still unsolved murders.

“Contradictory information has been released in the past 24 hours,” the Moscow Police Department said in a press release, which marked the latest update from the office amid an ongoing investigation involving multiple agencies. law enforcement officials. Moscow police cited earlier statements from the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office, suggesting that “the suspect(s) specifically examined ‘the residence where the four students were stabbed to death in mid-November,’ and that one or more of the occupants were undoubtedly targeted.”

“We have spoken with the Latah County District Attorney’s Office and have identified this as a misunderstanding,” police said in the news release. “Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted, but are continuing to investigate.”

Authorities have yet to name or arrest any suspects in connection with the murders, despite an ongoing investigation launched more than two weeks ago. Early in the morning of November 13, students and roommates at the University of Idaho Kaylee GoncalvesMadison Mogen and Xana Kernodle, in addition to fellow student Ethan Chapin, were fatally stabbed at the Women’s Residence – a house near campus they were renting – after returning from parties in downtown Moscow and the Sigma fraternity Chi.

Scenes in Moscow, Idaho after four students were found dead in their residence
A small executive reminiscent of Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Kaylee Goncalves sits in the snow outside the residence hall where the four students were killed on November 13 in Moscow, Idaho, U.S. November 30, 2022 .


Goncalves, Mogen and Kernodle had two other roommates, both of whom slept at home during the murders. Neither was injured and police announced earlier this week that the two surviving students had been ruled out as potential suspects in the case. And, although officers noted that they had reviewed “hundreds of information” This indicated that someone may have stalked Goncalves before the murders, the Moscow Police Department said investigators did not verify this information or identify a possible stalker.

Police began publicly calling the horrific attack “targeted” several days after they began their investigation. In an update shared Nov. 15, the department, confirming that a suspect was not yet in custody, said their preliminary investigation had led detectives to believe “this was a isolated and targeted attack and that there is no imminent threat to the community as a whole”. .”

Latah County Attorney Bill Thompson backtracked on that point in a interview with NewsNation’s Brian Entin on Tuesday, where he said the term “targeted” may not have been interpreted the way authorities intended.

“It seems like the word ‘targeted’ had different meanings for different people listening and might not be the best word to use,” Thompson said. “The bottom line is that whoever is responsible for this is still at large. That cannot be changed. My understanding is that investigators believe whoever is responsible was looking specifically at this particular residence. But that’s all they can offer at this point. indicate.”

Alivea Goncalves, sister Kaylee Goncalves, shared her frustration with police’s use of the term “targeted,” without providing the victim’s families with additional supporting information, in a separate NewsNation interview.

“Law enforcement kind of uses this word ‘targeted,’ but we don’t know what it means, and it almost makes it alienating because we don’t have any more information about it,” said Aliea Goncalves. “I don’t know who that target was, if it was one of them, if it was all of them. I just don’t know.”

On Wednesday evening, family members of the victims came to the university and spoke at a vigil.

Steve Goncalves, Kaylee’s father, said his daughter and Mogen have been best friends who have been inseparable since they met in sixth grade.

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

University of Idaho's Dead Four
Steve Goncalves speaks about his daughter, Kaylee Goncalves, who was one of four University of Idaho female students who were killed Nov. 13, 2022, Nov. 30, 2022, during a vigil for the four students at Moscow, Idaho.

Ted S. Warren/AP

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