The sister of a murdered University of Idaho student says ‘no-one is safe’ as elite FBI investigators join the hunt for a quadruple killer.
Police are still trying to piece together a timeline for the killing of four friends which has shocked the US but do not currently have any suspects or persons of interest.
The four students, Ethan Chapin, 20; Xana Kernodle, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were slain between three and 4am on Sunday at their off-campus housing on King Street in Moscow, Idaho, according to Moscow mayor Art Bettge.
Autopsy reports have now determined their deaths were caused by stabbing and police are reportedly on the hunt for a Rambo-style knife they believe may have been used by the killer.
Aubrie Goncalves, whose sister Kaylee was killed, warned other students that they were not safe so long as the killer was still at large.
Goncalves made a plea on her Instagram account, writing “No one is in custody and therefore no one is safe.”
Moscow police responded to a call of an unconscious person at 11.58am on Sunday when they discovered the four students who were pronounced dead at the scene.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations said that its elite Behavioural Analysis Unit, which was popularised by its appearances on the TV show Criminal Minds, is now assisting local law enforcement on the case.
The BAU employs “crime analysis, profiles of unknown offenders, investigative suggestions, threat assessments and interview strategies” among other techniques.
Police initially claimed there is “no imminent threat to the community at large” and that the murders were “an isolated, targeted attack”. But at a press conference on Wednesday Moscow Police Chief James Fry told reporters he couldn’t rule out a threat to the community.
He said: “We do not have a suspect at this time, and we cannot say there is no threat to the community. There is a threat out there, possibly. We need to be vigilant. We need to watch out for our neighbours.”
He added that two other roommates, Bethany Funke and Dylan Martensen, were in the house at the time of the murders but were unhurt.
The pair were not under investigation and were cooperating with police. Officials added that they did not have a suspect or persons of interest as of Thursday night.
Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson told NBC News that there could be more than one suspect.
“It certainly is possible. That’s the purpose of the investigation, that’s why we’re really hoping for any information from the public that can help the investigators recreate everyone’s activities from Saturday night into early Sunday morning and hopefully give them the leads, the information, to identify who did this,” said Thompson.
Xana Kernodle’s father, Jeff Kernodle, told Arizona news outlet 3TV/ CBS 5 that his daughter was discovered with “bruises” and was “torn by a knife” which he said suggested she put up a fight against her attacker.
He said: “She’s a tough kid. Whatever she wanted to do, she could do it.”
The students’ home had locks on the doors with a “number code”, according to Mr Kernodle.
“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 added.
He said that she was “responsible” and he was “impressed” with his daughter, who had been dating Chapin for about a year.
Kaylee Goncalves’ family released a statement shortly after the murders on social media demanding answers.
“She was looking forward to her job in tech starting on January 1, a move to Texas, road trips in her just purchased Range Rover, and a trip she planned out to Europe,” the family wrote.
The statement added: “She’d never stop fighting for us and demanding the truth and justice and neither will we.”
Jake Schriger, the boyfriend of Madison Mogen, was said to have had “his world turned upside down” following news of the murders.
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Jake’s mom, Stacy Schriger, told The New York Post: “She was motivated and made things look easy. She was a beautiful young lady. All of the young adults involved in this were amazing young people.”
She added: “Whenever we talked on the phone, she always said I love you.”
Others in the community remembered the victims. Jackie Fisher, owner of the Mad Greek Restaurant where Mogen and Kernodle worked told Fox News Digital that the deaths had shaken the community.
“All I can say right now is that we’re just all deeply saddened by the loss of both Maddie and Xana, they were wonderful workers,” Fisher said. “They’ve been here for a couple of years with me. All of the employees are just shook right now, I think as well as the rest of the Moscow community.”
The night before the murders, Kernodle and Chapin had been at a party on the university campus, while Mogen and Goncalves were at a bar.
The students are believed to have arrived home sometime after 1.45am. They were killed around 3am or 4am.
Police said Kernodle had been in touch with her family before the attack.
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Mogen and Gonclaves were seen at a local food truck shortly before they were killed. A video of the pair was posted on Twitch as part of a live stream Saturday night by the food truck operators Grub Truckers.
The footage shows the two students waiting on a crowded street for something to eat from the food truck, they interact with others in the crowd.
An unidentified man is seen a short distance away from the girls, police are seeking to ID him but there is no suggestion he was involved in the crime.
The food truck is just over a mile from the victims’ home, if they walked home it would have taken around 20 to 25 minutes.
Gonclaves posted to Instagram in the hours before her death and included pictures of her and friends, including Chapin, Kernodle and Mogen.
Sources close to the investigation told the Daily Mail that the bloody scene they encountered on Sunday afternoon was “the worst they’ve ever seen”.