What we know about the deaths of 4 University of Idaho students

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CNN

Police believe a “sharp weapon” was used to kill four students found in a home near the University of Idaho – deaths that sent shockwaves through the campus of about 11,500 students.

“Investigators continue to work diligently to build a timeline of relevant events to recreate the activities of the victims on the evening of Nov. 12 and the early morning of Nov. 13, following all leads and identifying individuals of interest,” says a police statement.

Authorities have not provided many additional details, but Moscow police said in a statement that preliminary information leads investigators to believe a sharp weapon such as a knife was used. No weapons linked to the bodies – discovered on Sunday after police responded to a report of an unconscious person – have been found, police said.

While no suspect is currently in custody, police believe this was “an isolated, targeted attack” and there is no threat to the campus or surrounding community, they said.

Autopsies are scheduled for later this week and should provide more information on the causes of death, the police statement said.

Classes were canceled Monday as officials tried to find out what happened at the home in the city of Moscow, located on the Washington-Idaho border about 80 miles south of both Spokane, Washington, and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

“Words cannot adequately describe the light these students have brought to this world or illuminate the depth of the suffering we feel at their passing under these tragic circumstances,” school principal Scott Green said in a statement.

Here’s what we know about the victims and the investigation:

The students were identified as:

  • Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington, was a college freshman majoring in recreation, sports and tourism management and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, according to the university.
  • Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona, was a junior majoring in marketing and a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, the university said.
  • Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, was a senior majoring in marketing and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, the university said.
  • Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho, was a senior majoring in general studies and a member of the Alpha Phi sorority, according to the university.

Officers responded to a call about an unconscious person shortly before noon Sunday and discovered the four bodies, Moscow police said in a press release.

“All I can say is that the deaths are currently being labeled homicide, and manslaughter and murder are synonymous,” Moscow Police Department Captain Anthony Dahlinger told the Idaho Statesman. “We definitely have a crime here, so we’re looking for a suspect.”

Dahlinger declined to characterize the deaths as violent, and Cathy Mabbutt, the Latah County coroner, told The New York Times that the deaths were not murder-suicide.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 208-882-COPS.

“The Moscow Police and the City of Moscow (are) deeply saddened for the families of these individuals, fellow students and friends, and our community during this time,” the police said.

CNN has contacted the university and police for more details.

The students’ deaths are “senseless violence,” said Moscow Mayor Art Bettge.

“This tragedy serves as a sobering reminder that senseless acts of violence can happen anywhere, anytime and that we are not immune to such events here in our community,” the mayor said. “Let’s come together to support and be there for each other as we grieve as a community.”

The university has established guidance resources for students and employees, Green, the school president, said in his statement. School officials are working with students to set up a candlelight vigil later this week.

“As Vandals, we come together and support each other through difficult times, leaning on our collective strength. Look out for each other now,” Green said.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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