Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson tells DailyMail.com that authorities have ‘no viable’ suspect’ in the murders of four University of Idaho students
Police hunting the killer who brutally murdered four University of Idaho students in the early hours of Sunday morning still have ‘no viable suspect’ nor any ‘evidence that could lead to a suspect,’ DailyMail.com can disclose.
Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said the already complex investigation has also been hampered by the Thanksgiving holiday because many potential witnesses are students who have already left the small college town of Moscow for the break.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Thompson said: ‘I have heard nothing to indicate they have identified a viable suspect or heard evidence that could lead to a suspect.’
He added: ‘It could very well be [a lengthy investigation] – I think that all depends on the answers they’re able to find.
‘If they’re lucky, they will find answers for who is responsible for this and what happened quickly, or it could be they don’t get those answers quickly and have to keep digging.’
Thompson’s comments came as the Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt released the official autopsy results and listed stabbing as the cause of death for all four victims.
Xana Kernodle and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin (left) were both killed Sunday along with best friends Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves (right)
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt released the official autopsy results and listed stabbing as the cause of death for all four victims
Mabbutt said the killings were ‘personal’ according to the Idaho News, which quoted a CBS report.
She told NBC News the four had ‘extensive ‘ wounds and the murder weapon would have been ‘a bigger knife.’
‘It’s pretty traumatic when you have four dead college students who have been stabbed to death in one location,’ Mabbutt said.
‘We’re looking to see if there are some clues that are on them – some of the suspect’s blood, perhaps, or something under somebody’s fingernails.’
The coroner is now awaiting toxicology reports on the four dead students.
Young couple Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle, both 20, and childhood best friends Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, both 21, died in the vicious attack at their Moscow, Idaho, home between 3 and 4am on Sunday morning.
Police received a 911 call at 11.38am with a report of an ‘unconscious person’ but discovered a bloodbath and pronounced all four dead at the property with death officially declared at noon according to the autopsy report.
Sources close to the investigation described the scene inside the home as ‘the worst they’ve ever seen’ while blood could still be seen oozing through the walls of the modest gray clapperboard property as late as Tuesday morning.
Two other students were also at the home on the night of the murders – Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke – but both miraculously survived.
Thompson told DailyMail.com he had heard ‘a preliminary version’ of their story and said neither are suspects but that they will face a more in-depth interview.
He said: ‘I have some preliminary information from when this was first reported on Sunday but unfortunately, it’s the type of information we can’t share publicly because if it was publicly known, it could compromise the investigation.
‘I can tell you that the investigators have been working to have a more comprehensive follow-up interview with the housemates and I have not heard the results of that yet.’
Moscow PD held a press conference to update the public on their progress in the murder enquiry of four Idaho University students. The already complex investigation has also been hampered by the holidays because many potential witnesses are students who have already left the small college town of Moscow for the break
A neighbor in Moscow, Idaho, says the off-campus house where four students were killed Sunday was known to be a party house
Blood drips down the outside of the wall of the house the four students shared. Investigators describe it as the worst crime scene they have ever seen
In the meantime, police are working on the complicated task of contacting all potential witnesses – an effort that has been hampered by students leaving town for the Thanksgiving break.
He said: ‘One of the challenges is that many of the witnesses – people who knew and met the victims – are students and have gone home this week.
‘They’re scattered all over the western United States so investigators are trying to locate them and make arrangements to interview them which is difficult long distance because we advise our officers not to do telephone interviews.
‘In a criminal investigation, we really prefer they have face-to-face interviews with everybody. That is just one of the challenges investigators are dealing with.
‘We’re very fortunate that State Police have assigned a number of their investigators to help the Moscow Police Department and the FBI have also brought in a team of their investigators to help out. Just to have the manpower out there to find people and talk to them.’
Police have also been conducting a search of trash cans located close to the property in an effort to find the murder weapon – believed to be a large knife, possibly made by the Olean, New York, company KA-BAR, which are used by the US Marines and other military.
Moscow Police Chief Jim Fry has only referred to the murder weapon as an ‘edged weapon’.
Two other students were also at the home on the night of the murders – Dylan Mortensen (right) and Bethany Funke (left)– but both miraculously survived
Students held a vigil for the murdered youngsters on Thursday. Many are now fleeing campus out of fear that the killer remains on the loose
Scott Jutte, general manager of the Moscow Building Supply, told the Idaho Statesman that police had questioned him about whether he sold the Rambo-style knives – but he doesn’t.
‘They were specifically asking whether or not we carry KA-BAR-style knives, which we do not,’ Jutte said. ‘If we did, we could’ve reviewed surveillance footage. But it wasn’t something I could help them with.’
Police have faced sustained criticism – including from the victim’s families – over what they see as a slow reaction and a lack of transparency that has followed the brutal murders.
Ethan Chapin’s father Jim released a statement slamming the cops.
‘There is a lack of information from the University of Idaho and the local police which only fuels false rumors and innuendo in the press and social media,’ Chapin Sr. said.
‘The silence further compounds our family’s agony after our son’s murder. For Ethan and his three dear friends slain in Moscow, Idaho, and all of our families, I urge officials to speak the truth, share what they know, find the assailant and protect the greater community.’
Kaylee Goncalves (left) and Madison Mogen (right). Kaylee’s sister warned students at the University of Idaho
Kaylee’s sister Aubrie said the lack of information had led to wild rumors. ‘This had nothing to do with drugs, and the accusations that people are throwing at Maddie, Kaylee, and her friends are extremely hurtful to read’
Kaylee Goncalves’s sisters have also spoken out, begging parents of students at the University of Idaho to remove them from campus.
Autumn Goncalves wrote on Instagram: ‘No one is in custody and therefore no one is safe. Whoever did this to my sisters (Maddie and Kaylee) is still out there and if he is sick enough to murder FOUR sweet, innocent humans so brutally, he is sick enough to do it to anyone else.’
She continued: ‘Our family was dreading the answer for ‘how’ and we all knew that no matter the answer, we wouldn’t like it, but we got back the worst possible answer.
‘The most gruesome way. One person against four. This person is dangerous and he is not in custody!!! How police say ‘no threat’ MAKES NO SENSE.’
She said Maddie and Kaylee, who grew up together in the Couer d’Alene area, did everything right.
‘They went out together. They locked their doors,’ she wrote.
‘They were smart and they were fighters and this STILL happened. No one is safe. Please get your loved ones home.’
Another sister, Aubrie, said the lack of information had led to wild rumors. ‘This had nothing to do with drugs, and the accusations that people are throwing at Maddie, Kaylee, and her friends are extremely hurtful to read.
‘They did nothing wrong and took all the precautions they should’ve, and they were still killed,’ she added.
Like her sister Aubrie begged students to leave town. ‘Your grades are severely less important than your lives,’ she wrote.
‘You guys are not safe until this sicko is found.’
A third Goncalves sister, Alivea, told Chris Cuomo on News Nation:’ There’s nothing – no boy problem, no threat, no high risk lifestyle that could have indicated this. It has taken all of us completely by shock and we have absolutely no ideas.’
Alivea said she accepted that authorities in small-town Moscow are ‘overwhelmed’, but added: ‘I want more coverage I want more done. I want more people speaking out.’
Jeffrey Kernodle (left) the father of victim Xana Kernodle (back right), revealed that his daughter’s body showed signs that she had defended herself from her killer
And Xana’s father Jeffrey Kernodle told an Arizona CBS affiliate he couldn’t understand how the killer could have got inside the house. ‘I have no idea. It doesn’t make sense,’ he said.
‘The door locks with a number code. Every time you go, you have to go around the house because of the number code so they either knew that or went around and maybe found the slider door open.’
He said the autopsy on his daughter showed she had bruising on her hands. ‘Bruises, torn by the knife. She’s a tough kid. Whatever she wanted to do, she could do it.’
During a press conference on Wednesday, Police Chief Fry conceded that what had previously been described as ‘a targeted attack’ could pose a threat to the wider community and said investigators are still desperate for new information and tips.
He also revealed that Mortensen and Funke had been in the home at the time of the early morning massacre but gave no details about how they survived the slayings; merely saying that they are helping with the investigation.