Knife May Have Been Used to Kill 4 Idaho Students

MOSCOW, Idaho — Authorities investigating the deaths of four University of Idaho students at a private home near campus said on Tuesday that they believe the students were killed with a knife or some other blade, but that no weapon had been recovered and no suspect was yet in custody.

Police officials in Moscow, Idaho, said they believed the killings were an “isolated, targeted attack and there is no imminent threat to the community at large.”

Investigators were working to assemble a timeline of events in the hours leading up to the deaths of the students — three women and one man — whose bodies were discovered around midday on Sunday after someone called 911 to report an unconscious person. Officials said they would focus on the activities of the victims, who were friends, beginning on Saturday evening and into the early morning hours of Sunday.

The unresolved nature of the case has rattled Moscow, a college town on the border with Washington State that had not recorded a murder in more than seven years. Some students said they were leaving the city, worried that whoever committed such a gruesome crime was apparently still at large.

“We’re just scared of the circumstances,” said Paige Carter, a senior public relations major who lives in a house near where the killings occurred. She and her roommate were preparing to go to the airport. “We haven’t really heard much information,” she said. “So we don’t really know what to think.”

A small group gathered to pray for the victims outside of the Pi Beta Phi sorority house.Credit…Zach Wilkinson/The Moscow-Pullman Daily News, via Associated Press

Officials have identified the victims as Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.

Ms. Kernodle’s older sister, Jazzmin, said in a text message Monday night that she and her family were “confused and anxiously waiting” for updates on the investigation.

“They haven’t told us much, other than it was a homicide,” she said of the police.

Ms. Kernodle said that the three other victims had been great friends to her sister and that her sister had been dating Mr. Chapin since the spring semester. Xana was “lucky to have them in her life,” she said.

She added that her sister, who was majoring in marketing and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, was “so positive, funny, and was loved by everyone who met her.”

“She made me such a proud big sister, and I wish I could have had more time with her,” Ms. Kernodle said. “She had so much life left to live.”

Officials said on Tuesday that autopsies were planned for later in the week, which they hoped would pin down the exact causes of death. Police asked anyone with information about the deaths to contact investigators.

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