Police believe four college students found in a house near the University of Idaho were killed with “sharp weapons” — a death that sent shock waves through the campus of about 11,500 students.
“Investigators are continuing to work to establish a timeline of events in order to reconstruct the victim’s movements on the night of November 12 and early morning of November 13, follow up on all leads and identify those involved,” a police statement said.
Authorities did not provide many additional details, but Moscow police said in a statement that initial information led investigators “to believe that a sharp weapon such as a knife was used.” Police said no weapons were found associated with the body — they were discovered after officers responded to a report of an unconscious person on Sunday.
While no suspects are currently in custody, police believe it was “an isolated, targeted attack” and that there was no threat to the campus or the surrounding community, they said.
An autopsy is scheduled to be completed later this week and they should provide more information on the cause of death, the police statement said.
Classes were canceled Monday as officials struggled to understand what was happening at home in the city of Moscow on the Washington-Idaho border, about 80 miles south of Spokane, Wash., and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho .
“Words cannot adequately describe the light these students have brought to this world, nor can they lessen the depth of pain we all feel when they pass away under these tragic circumstances,” school principal Scott Green said in a statement.
Here’s what we know about the victims and the investigation:
These students were identified as:
- Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Wash., is a freshman majoring in entertainment, athletics and tourism management and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, according to the university.
- Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Ariz., is a junior marketing major and a member of the Pi Beta Phi fraternity, the university said.
- Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, is a senior marketing major and a member of the Pi Beta Phi fraternity, the university said.
- Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho, is a senior general education major and Alpha Phi fraternity student, according to the university. member.
The four bodies were found shortly before noon Sunday after they received a call about an unconscious person, Moscow police said at a news conference.
“All I can say is that at the moment the death is ruled a homicide, and homicide and murder are synonymous,” said the Moscow police captain. Anthony Darlinger told the Idaho Statesman. “We’ve definitely got criminal activity here so we’re looking for suspects.”
Dallinger declined to characterize the death as a violent incident, and Latta County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told The New York Times that the death was not a murder-suicide.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call 208-882-COPS.
“The Moscow Police Service and the city of Moscow are deeply saddened by the families, classmates and friends of these individuals, as well as our community during this period,” the police department said.
CNN has contacted the university and police department for more details.
Moscow Mayor Art Bettge said the student’s death was “an act of senseless violence”.
“This tragedy reminds us that senseless violence can happen anywhere, anytime, and that our communities are not immune to such incidents,” the mayor said. “Let’s come together and support each other as we mourn as a community.”
Chancellor Green said in a statement that the university has established counseling resources for students and staff. School officials are working with students to hold a candlelight vigil later in the week.
“As disruptors, we come together to support each other through challenging times and rely on our collective strength. Look out for each other now,” Green said.