Law enforcement officials now say they are not sure if the stabbings of the four University of Idaho college students were ‘targeted’ in a major backflip in the case.
On Wednesday, the Moscow Police Department issued a press release saying that they are now unsure of the claim that the attack was intended for any of the occupants of the home.
‘Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but continue to investigate,’ the Moscow Police Department said.
This announcement came as family and friends were gathering to honor and remember Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Maddie Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, who were murdered on November 13 at their off-campus house.
No suspects have been publicly identified and the murder weapon has not been recovered.
Another shocking revelation came out of that event, as well, with Kaylee’s father Steve Goncalves telling the crowd that his daughter died in the same bed as her best friend, Maddie. It had previously been reported the two girls were in separate bedrooms when they were murdered by the unknown assailant.
Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Maddie Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20 were found stabbed to death in an off-campus house on November 13
Friends and family gathered at a candlelight vigil Wednesday night to honor the four University of Idaho students killed in mid-November
Early Wednesday morning, Latah County prosecutor Bill Thompson told a local news station that ‘investigators believe that this attack was intended for a specific person.’
Within hours, however, the Moscow Police Department posted to their social media accounts, making a ‘clarification.’
‘Conflicting information has been released over the past 24 hours. The Latah County Prosecutor’s Office stated the suspect(s) specifically looked at this residence, and that one or more of the occupants were undoubtedly targeted,’ the police department said in a post.
‘We have spoken with the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office and identified this was a miscommunication.
‘Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but continue to investigate,’ the agency continued.
This wasn’t the first time officials close to the case had said it was a ‘targeted’ attack, however.
In a social media post Friday, police clarified that they are unsure if the attack was targeted
The admittance comes after weeks of officials saying they believe the attack was targeted but not providing more information
Earlier this week, Moscow Police Chief James Fry told ABC News that police still ‘believe this is a targeted attack,.’
‘Everyone wants answers… We want to give those answers as soon as we can,’ Fry said.
Police had initially said they believed there was ‘no imminent threat to the community,’ but later walked that back.
Fry told ABC News, ‘I own the messaging problem at the very beginning. We should’ve done a little better than that. … we needed to correct that.’
On November 23, Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier said that investigators did in fact believe the group killed was targeted.
Just days previously, one top law enforcement official admitted they have said the attack was believed to be targeted
‘We’ve told the public very clearly from the beginning that we believe it was a targeted attack,’ Lanier said at the time.
‘To be honest, you’re going to have to trust us on that at this point, because we’re not going to release why we think that.’
Additionally, Idaho State Police communications director Aaron Snell had previously stated as well that they believed the attack was targeted.
‘There were survivors of this. And then as well, based on the evidence internally at the scene, that has led detectives to believe and continue to believe that this was a targeted event,’ Snell told Fox News Digital on Nov. 26.
During a recent press conference, Police Chief James Fry owned that there was a ‘messaging problem’ between the department and the public
Within hours of the Moscow Police Department issuing the ‘clarification’ on Wednesday, loved ones and community members gathered on campus for the ceremony remembering the four students.
Among those in attendance, Steve Goncalves, who heartbreaking told the world his daughter died alongside her longtime best friend, Maddie, in the same bed.
The grieving father called the girls ‘absolutely beautiful’ and shared his gratefulness over the girls finding each other in sixth grade.
‘And every day they did homework together, they came to our house together, they shared everything,’ Steve said.
‘Then they started looking at colleges, they came here together. They eventually get into the same apartment together. And in the end … they died together in the same room, in the same bed.’
Steve Goncalves spoke about his daughter’s death during a campus candlelight vigil Wednesday
Maddie and Kaylee, best friends since sixth grade, died in the same bed, according to Kaylee’s father Steve
Before Steve Goncalves said Wednesday that his daughter Kaylee died in the same bed as Maddie, this is where it was believed the college students had died
Kaylee and Madison were found on the top floor of the Moscow, Idaho home. College lovers Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were found in a second-floor bedroom while survivors Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke were sleeping on the first floor
This announcement came as a bit of a shock to many.
Before the Wednesday evening clarification from Kaylee’s father, it was widely reported that the two girls had been in separate beds and bedrooms when they were brutally murdered.
Steve said during the vigil that in this dark time, he has found comfort in the knowledge that his daughter was with her best friend.
‘But the beauty of the two always being together,’ he continued, was that they were ‘with their best friends in the whole world.’
‘It’s like a book, it’s like some kind of terrible chapter but there’s beauty in it. And we’re gonna get our justice, we’re gonna figure this stuff out. This community deserves that,’ he said.
Police said they received a call about an ‘unconscious person’ just before noon that day, when a friend thought at least one of the victims had passed out and would not wake up
Ben Mogen, Maddie’s father, also spoke at the ceremony about he and his wife Karen’s only daughter.
The father described his daughter as ‘smart and funny and beautiful. She was just nice to everybody.’
Stacy Chapin, Ethan’s mom, said they are focused on sharing ‘Ethan’s legacy.’
‘We are eternally grateful that we spent so much time with him. And I want to remind you, that that’s the most important message that we have for you and your families, is to make sure that you spend as much time as possible with those people because time is precious, and it’s something you can’t get back,’ she said.
Hundreds attended the celebration of life for the four students killed by an unknown assailant
As of November 30 – 17 days out from when the students were murdered – no suspects have been publicly identified. The murder weapon, believed to be a fixed-blade knife, also has not been recovered.
Earlier this week, Steve Gonclaves revealed he did not have a funeral for his daughter for fear her ‘monster’ killer would attend.
In an interview with Fox News, the girl’s father also said that police have reached out to multiple outside agencies for additional help with the case and the massive amount of evidence that needs to be tested and sorted.
‘They’re gonna have to go through that point by point and that’s going to take a lot of time,’ he told Fox. ‘That’s why they reached out to other facilities to help them with that lab work.’
Dylan Mortensen (left) and Bethany Funke (middle) lived in the modest Moscow rental house with fellow University of Idaho students Xana Kernodle (second from left) Kaylee Goncalves (second from right) and Madison Mogen (right) but survived the attack. They have been ruled out as suspects
Despite public outcry, law enforcement officials have also not released a profile relating to the killer and have said that it could damage their investigation.
Police said they believe releasing a profile could lead to more fear and suspicion in the town.
Currently, many students at the University of Idaho have already expressed interest in staying home after winter break or transitioning to online classes, officials said.
Moscow Police officials said Sunday they’ve seen an uptick in calls from worried residents reporting ‘unusual circumstances.’
In the last month, they said they have received over 70 calls, up from just 18 for the same issue throughout October.
‘We understand there is a sense of fear within our community,’ police said.
Former FBI investigator Bill Daly recently posed his own theory into the stabbings after police revealed there has been an increase in ‘unusual circumstances’ since the students were murdered.
Former FBI investigator Bill Daly told Fox News that he believes the Idaho quadruple murders was a targeted attack and that someone in the slain college students’ orbit caused it to happen
‘There are a couple of things that are starting to suggest that there was someone in these people’s orbit that caused this incident to come about by this murderer,’ Daly said.
Daly told Fox News he believes there is justification for the argument that the murders were targeted, also.
‘Someone would’ve had to know the inside of the home, know their routine,’ Daly said. ‘If it was someone on a rampage, like a mass murderer, they would’ve also gone downstairs and harmed the others.’
The two other roommates, Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke, were at home on the night of the attack but survived. They have both been ruled out as suspects.
In addition to investigating the ‘targeted’ theory, police have been working overtime to disprove some of the theories that have been running rampant on social media as the nation continues to wonder what happened to the students.
‘At one point, we heard the victims were bound and gagged,’ Snell said in a recent interview. ‘Well we were able to successfully say “No that’s not indeed accurate,” and so we’re trying to put out that information.’
While autopsies did reveal that the four young adults had been stabbed multiple times each, and that some had defensive wounds, Snell said investigators have found no evidence that proves any of the victims were bound and gagged- a theory that had been circulating online.
Snell also recently denied that the quadruple murder was tied to other knife stabbings in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.
‘We don’t believe at this time … these murders are actually linked to two other knife murders that have occurred,’ he said, adding that they are ‘aware’ of the incidents and have ‘looked into them.’
Flowers and teddy bears left near the University campus after four student were slain at home
Police continue to ask the public to submit any tips ‘significant or not,’ as it may help them to solve the murders and bring closure to the four students’ families.
‘Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be a piece of the puzzle to help investigators solve these murders,’ Moscow police recently stated.
The rumors surrounding the mysterious deaths of four University of Idaho students
The victims were bound and gagged: FALSE
Moscow police have denied reports that the victims were bound and gagged when they were stabbed to death on November 13. An autopsy found no such signs of bondage.
Two other roommates survived the attack: TRUE
Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen lived in the house with the three female victims but miraculously survived the attack, only to find their friends dead the next morning.
Both girls had been out of town separately on Saturday night and returned home by around 1am – before the other four victims came home from a night out.
It took nine hours to call 911 about their deaths: TRUE
Police received a call at noon on November 13, and concluded that the four had been stabbed to death up to nine hours before, with the killing occurring between 3am to 4am that morning and there were no signs of forced entry.
Veteran Moscow police have described the scene as among the most gruesome and harrowing they have ever seen, with the victims left to bleed to death inside the house.
Officials arrived and discovered the additional victims and confirmed that anyone in the house when the 911 call was placed was not involved with the crime.
The incident is related to recent animal deaths in the area: FALSE
Moscow police say there is no reason to believe the deaths of the four college students is related to recent animal deaths in the area or to a dog found skinned from head to tail on October 21.
The incident is related to similar unsolved stabbings nearby: FALSE
Investigators have ruled that the quadruple murder is not tied to other knife stabbings in Idaho, Washington and Oregon — despite announcing last week that they were probing a possible link between the students’ deaths and a similar case in Oregon, where a husband and wife were stabbed in their beds by a crazed lunatic last year.
‘We don’t believe at this time … these murders are actually linked to two other knife murders that have occurred both in Pullman, [Washington] as well as Oregon,’ Idaho Police communication director Aaron Snell said, noting that police are ‘aware of these various reports’ and ‘looked into them.’
Ex-boyfriend Jack DeCoeur, 26, was a suspect: FALSE
Moscow Police have ruled out murder victim Kaylee Goncalves’ ex-boyfriend, Jack DeCoeur, 26, as a suspect in her murder and the deaths of Maddie Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.
Goncalves’ parents, Steve and Kristi, said they stood by Jack ‘100 percent’ after it was revealed that Kaylee and Mogen had called him at least seven times before their deaths
Kristi told Jones that she believes her daughter and Jack ‘would have eventually been married.’
‘They would have eventually had children,’ she said, explaining that the pair had dated for years and were on track to reconcile after spending some time apart.
‘We are supporting him, and we know in our hearts and our minds and our souls and the depths of our soul, Jack is hurting,’ she said.
Murder victim Kaylee Goncalves, 21, (right) and her ex-boyfriend Jack DuCoeur, 26, (left). Kaylee and her friend Maddie called Jack at least seven times in the hours before they were killed
The man seen talking to them at a food truck was a suspect: FALSE
Authorities have also ruled out a man who was seen speaking to Kaylee and Maddie at a food truck, which is where they were caught on surveillance footage for the last time alive.
Officials say there may be multiple perpetrators responsible for the crime.