University of Idaho students stabbed in beds: coroner

SPOKANE, Wash. –

Four University of Idaho students who were found dead in a rental home on Sunday were stabbed to death in their beds and were likely asleep, a county coroner told a cable news channel.

Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt also told NewsNation on Thursday that each victim suffered multiple stab wounds with a « pretty large knife. »

« It’s got to be someone angry enough to stab four people to death, » Mabbutt told NewsNation. The victims were stabbed in the chest and upper body, the coroner said.

Efforts by The Associated Press to reach Mabbutt by phone on Friday were diverted to an Idaho State Police spokesperson, who did not immediately return the messages.

Mabbutt’s comments expanded on autopsy reports released Thursday, which concluded that the four students had been murdered by being stabbed to death.

The killings rocked Moscow, a city in the Idaho Panhandle of 25,000 that last saw a homicide about five years ago. The leafy college town is about 130 kilometers south of Spokane, Washington.

Officers did not identify a suspect or find a weapon, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said.

The four victims were members of fraternities and sororities: seniors Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; junior Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and freshman Ethan Chapin, 20, of Mount Vernon, Washington. The women were roommates. The bodies were found around noon on Sunday.

The Moscow Police Department released a map Friday showing an approximate timeline of events leading up to the death and asked the public for advice or leads.

The card showed that Ethan and Xana attended a party at the Sigma Chi fraternity house between 8 and 9 p.m. Saturday. The map said the two returned to Xana’s rental house at 1:45 a.m. Sunday.

Meanwhile, Kaylee and Maddie hit up the Corner Club, a popular bar in downtown Moscow, from 10 p.m. Saturday to 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Then they visited a food truck on Main Street and were home by 1:45 a.m.

The food truck’s surveillance video shows Mogen and Goncalves ordering at the window, taking photos on their phones and chatting with friends in a roughly 10-minute segment.

The map did not indicate how police knew the four victims were at home at 1:45 a.m.

Police said evidence at the scene leads them to believe the students were being targeted, although they did not give details. Investigators say nothing appears to have been stolen from the victims or the home.

After initially saying there was no continuing danger, police reversed course on Wednesday. « We can’t say there’s no threat to the community, » Fry said. « We still believe this is a targeted attack. But the reality is that there is still one person who committed four very horrific crimes. »

Two other people were found in the sprawling house, unharmed. Fry declined to say if they were able to provide an account of the killings or specify who called 911. There was no sign of a forced entry, according to the chief, and a door was found unlocked by the first police arrived.


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