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Idaho college murders: Police release new timeline, map of victims’ final hours

(MOSCOW, Idaho) — Police in Moscow, Idaho, on Friday released a map and timeline of the whereabouts of four University of Idaho students in the hours before they were stabbed to death.

The victims, who were killed in a house near campus early Sunday morning and found hours later, were identified as Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho.

Police said they have no suspects.

Goncalves and Mogen — lifelong best friends — were in downtown Moscow Saturday night while Chapin and Kernodle — who were dating — were at the Sigma Chi house, police said.

It’s believed they were killed between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. Sunday, Moscow Mayor Art Bettge told ABC News.

Chapin didn’t live in the house where the four were killed, but was sleeping over with his girlfriend, according to his mother, Stacy Chapin.

Police are searching for leads and urge anyone who saw “suspicious behavior, has video surveillance, or can provide relevant information” to call the tip line at 208-883-7180 or email tipline@ci.moscow.id.us.

Two other female roommates were home at the time of the stabbings, and they were not hurt, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said on Wednesday. It was not a hostage situation, he added.

The roommates were home when police responded to a call for an unconscious individual at the home at about noon, Fry said. The roommates were not the 911 callers, according to Idaho State Police spokesman Aaron Snell.

The surviving roommates have not been ruled “in or out at suspects,” Snell said Thursday, adding that they’re “working and talking with detectives, and they have been cooperative — very cooperative.”

“Potentially they are witnesses, potentially they are victims,” Snell said, adding that the roommates could be “the key to this whole thing.”

Fry said the four students were killed in “an isolated, targeted attack”.

Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told ABC News that it appears all four were killed with a large knife and each student was stabbed more than once. There is no indication of any sexual assault, she said.

Latah County prosecuting attorney Bill Thompson told ABC News that authorities have “more information on the nature and location of the wounds” than they are releasing publicly.

He said police are not releasing certain details of the crime because there’s some information that only the suspect would know.

The murder weapon was not left at the scene, officials said.

Snell did not reveal what type of knife was used in the killings but said authorities are going to local businesses to see if anyone recently purchased a fixed-blade knife.

Snell described it as “a very complex and in-depth investigation.”

As for having no suspects nearly a week later, Snell said, “It’s very frustrating … we would have loved to have solved this [immediately].”

Thompson said it’s unusual to not have a suspect or motive at this point, and noted that this case has brought in more resources and manpower to Moscow than he’s ever seen in his 30 years as prosecutor.

“I wish we had the answers,” he said.

Goncalves and Mogen had been best friends since childhood and “did everything together,” Goncalves’ sister, Alivia Goncalves, told ABC News. She said she finds some solace that the friends were together in their final moments.

Although Fry described the attack as “targeted,” he said Wednesday, “We cannot say there is no threat to the community.”

Former FBI agent and ABC News contributor Brad Garrett thinks the surviving roommates are the “key” in the investigation, but he doesn’t think they are suspects.

“It’s a small town. The likelihood that they know who that person was in the house, I think, is reasonable,” Garrett said Thursday morning.

In terms of the investigation, Garrett said, “police appear to be stymied based on their own comments.”

For police, Garrett said the next steps are: “You really are going to have to do a complete detail of the party that was prior to whatever was going on between 3 and 4 o’clock at the victim’s house. … Who followed them home? Who has been taking whom? Who have had issues with people? This killer didn’t all of a sudden show up at this house — he knew this house.”

ABC News’ Kayna Whitworth, Nick Cirone and Timmy Truong contributed to this report.

 

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