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Idaho student murders: As mystery grows, here are four key questions that haven’t been answered

University of Idaho President Scott Green reacts emotionally when speaking about four students who were murdered in an off-campus house in Moscow during a press conference at the Moscow Police Department on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho. (Zach Wilkinson/The Moscow-Pullman Daily News via AP) Zach Wilkinson/AP

Idaho student murders: As mystery grows, here are four key questions that haven’t been answered

Cami Mondeaux

December 02, 09:34 AM December 02, 09:34 AM

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Nearly three weeks after four University of Idaho students were found killed inside their off-campus home, police officers are investigating the incident to uncover who is responsible.

Four students identified as Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were killed on Nov. 13. Each was murdered in bed and was stabbed in the chest and upper body with a large knife.

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Police are investigating the incident, with few details being released about what they have found so far. Here are four key questions that remain unanswered.

Is there a prime suspect?

As the investigation drags on, police have yet to identify a suspect in the murder case. As a result, rumors have circulated online as self-appointed sleuths try to connect the dots, but investigators have not publicly announced a suspect or person of interest.

They have, however, ruled out a number of people as suspects, including two of the roommates who were in the basement at the time of the killings but were left unharmed. Investigators ruled out two other friends who were present at the home at the time of the 911 call.

Police also ruled out a man seen in surveillance video working at a food truck that Goncalves and Mogen visited before they returned home, as well as a man whom the pair called “numerous times” on the phone hours before they were killed. Additionally, the person who drove the pair home that night has been ruled out as a suspect.

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Do police have a murder weapon?

Investigators still have not retrieved a murder weapon, with police gathering more than 100 pieces of physical evidence and over 4,000 photos and 3D scans of the home, according to officials.

Investigators expanded their search to gather evidence from nearby dumpsters and five vehicles parked near the house to be processed, officials said. Police have also contacted local businesses to determine whether a fixed-knife blade, the suspected murder weapon, had been purchased recently.

Was the incident targeted or random?

Police have released a number of conflicting statements on whether the incident was targeted or a random attack, with investigators presenting evidence that could be argued for either scenario.

Officials in Moscow, Idaho, initially reported that they believed the attack was the result of an “isolated, targeted attack” by someone who had “specifically looked at this residence.” However, police backtracked on these statements on Wednesday, explaining they resulted from a “miscommunication” with the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office.

“Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but continue to investigate,” city officials said in a statement on Wednesday.

Investigators further clarified the next day, releasing a statement noting, “We remain consistent in our belief that this was a targeted attack, but investigators have not concluded if the target was the residence or if it was the occupants.”

What next?

Police are asking the community to submit tips or any information that could be relevant to the murders by calling 208-883-7180 or emailing tipline@ci.moscow.id.us.

Investigators have already received more than 260 media submissions that people have submitted via an FBI form, and authorities are processing more than 1,000 tips, according to police. Investigators have also completed at least 150 interviews.

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