Idaho student murders: Police dispel rumors of stalker, skinned dog – National

As the investigation into the murders of four University of Idaho students enters its second week, speculation is rife in the small town of Moscow, Idaho. Police have yet to name a suspect and have released details of the case, creating an information vacuum filled with rumours.

In a recent update from the Moscow Police Department (MPD), investigators said they received hundreds of tips about the stalker of one of the victims, 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves, but were unable to verify or identify such a person. There are also rumors that a skinned dog was found three weeks before the killings in the city of about 25,000 people.

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Locals feared the two grotesque incidents were connected, but police said the skinned dog had “no connection” to the killing of the college students. The police also reported that dead animals were left on the property of a local resident and that these incidents were caused by wildlife.

Speculation about the animals has been fueled since police found a dog at the crime scene on the night of the incident. “The dog was unharmed and turned over to Animal Services,” police said.

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It’s unclear what sparked the rumors that Goncalves had a stalker, but police have ruled out a man seen watching Goncalves and another victim, 21-year-old Madison Mogen, in a food truck the night they were killed. “The man in the Grub Truck surveillance video” is not believed to be involved in the deaths, police said.

An unverified video shared by local TV reporter John Webb on Twitter shows footage from the surveillance cameras in question. A single man in a black coat, gray hoodie, black pants and a black baseball hat stares at two girls as they order food, but it’s unclear who the police are referring to.

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In a press release, the Moscow police warned the public not to believe information not disseminated through official channels, saying, “Rumours and speculations continue to circulate regarding the ongoing investigation. MPD urges the public not to believe rumors and is committed to keeping the public informed.

Investigators also added that online reports of the victims being bound and gagged were not true.

Moscow police have faced criticism for their lack of information about the case, which rocked the local community and left the University of Idaho campus empty on the eve of Thanksgiving.

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A parent of one of the victims, 20-year-old Ethan Chapin, even took aim at investigators’ harsh approach in an email to The Associated Press: “There is a lack of information from the University of Idaho and local police, which only fuels false rumors and insinuations in the press and on social media.”

“Silence adds to our family’s anguish after our son’s murder,” writes Jim Chapin. “For Ethan and his three dear friends who were killed in Moscow, Idaho, and for all of our families, I am calling on the authorities to tell the truth, share what they know, find the assailant, and protect the greater public.”

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The latest timeline of events

Police have determined that four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death in their sleep in the early hours of Nov. 13 in a possible ambush. The location of the murder weapon has not yet been identified, but police believe it is a large “fixed blade”. is used.

Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told NewsNation that the victims were stabbed in the chest and upper body, adding that the perpetrator “would have to be a pretty angry person to stab four people to death.”

Police recreated a sketchy timeline of the victims’ movements, saying that on the evening of November 12, Goncalves and Mogen were at a local bar called The Corner Club. Meanwhile, the fourth victim, Chapin and Khana Kernodle, 20, was spotted on the University of Idaho campus at the Sigma Chi fraternity house Chapin was a member of.

A screenshot of an Instagram photo of four victims in a recent Moscow, Idaho homicide investigation posing together on the day they were killed.


Instagram


Goncalves, Mogen, and Kernodle were roommates and sorority members, and Chapin was Kernodle’s boyfriend. They all looked like close friends in their social media posts. The three women had two other roommates who police said were at another event that night and arrived home around 1 a.m.

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On Nov. 13 around 1:30 a.m., Goncalves and Mogen were seen on video at Grub Truck, a local food vendor, and police say they used a “private party to drive home.” The police also ruled out this person as a suspect.

All four of the victims arrived at the home at 1122 King Rd. Around 1:45 p.m., he was at the residence and Chapin decided to sleep with Kernodle. The victims lived on the second and third floors of the residence.

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According to the Latah County Coroner, the four victims were stabbed to death between 3 and 4 a.m. The coroner said “the four victims were asleep, some had defensive wounds, and each had been stabbed multiple times.” Examinations did not reveal any signs of sexual violence in any of the victims.

The two surviving roommates at the residence did not wake up until morning and believed one of the victims on the second floor was passed out. As the victim did not wake up, they called other friends home for help. At 11:58 a.m., police received a 911 call about a person passed out from a residence.

The call came from the cell phone of one of the surviving roommates, but several people spoke to 911 dispatchers before Moscow police arrived on the scene. When officers investigated the residence, they found the four victims dead on the second and third floors.

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The home where four University of Idaho students were found dead on Sunday, November 13, 2022. Police are investigating the deaths as homicides.


Angela Palermo/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images


Police do not believe the two surviving roommates were involved in the murders.

As part of the investigation, police seized the contents of three bins in King Road in search of possible evidence. Investigators are also aware of numerous phone calls made by the victims, Goncalves and Mogen, to the same man, but they did not provide further details.

As police continue to search for the murder weapon, local businesses have been contacted to see if fixed-blade knives have been purchased recently.

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According to the press release, Moscow police have processed nearly 700 tips and conducted 90 interviews, but the suspect has not been named.

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The FBI is helping with the case and has sent 22 investigators to Moscow and two Behavioral Analysis units known for profiling criminals based on their crimes. Twenty agents also work in Idaho, Utah and other locations in West Virginia.