MOSCOW, Idaho. The father of one of four slain University of Idaho students found brutally stabbed to death in an off-campus home is calling on law enforcement and the school to provide more information, saying their silence has only added to the family’s “agony” three days after the attacker is still at large will
Moscow city police have released few details about the killings, but say the students — three women and one man — were killed with “sharp weapons” in an “isolated, targeted attack.”
However, with no known suspect or motive, students and community members are unsure why police assumed there was no immediate danger.
“There is a lack of information from the University of Idaho and local police, which only fuels false rumors and innuendo in the press and social media,” said Jim Chapin, father of the victim, 20-year-old Ethan Chapin.
“Silence adds to our family’s agony after our son’s murder,” Jim Chapin said in a statement. “For Ethan and his three dear friends killed in Moscow, Idaho, and for all of our families, I’m calling on officials to tell the truth, share what they know, find the assailant and protect the community.”
This was told by the sister of another victim, 21-year-old Kaylee Gonsalves NBC affiliate KHQ-TV in Spokane, Washington, that she disagreed with the police assessment that the killings were “isolated.”
“Anything can be isolated until it happens,” said Alivea Gonçalves. “And until we apprehend someone, it’s impossible to say for sure that it’s isolated.”
“Somebody did it for a purpose — not once, not twice, not three times, but four times,” Gonsalves added. – I don’t know anything more terrible than that.
What we know about the deaths of four Idaho college students
Moscow police did not immediately respond to requests for further comment, but officials said they would hold a press conference later on Wednesday.
In a statement Tuesday, police said they “shared every bit of information they could without compromising the ongoing investigation.”
“Above all, we remain steadfastly committed to keeping our community safe,” the statement said.
“This incident highlighted that violence is possible in our own community and in every community. Until this case is fully resolved, we ask the community to continue to be vigilant, vigilant, report suspicious activity, and help us be the eyes and ears in our communities.”
Latah County Coroner Kathy Mabbutt said medical examiners in Spokane, Wash., are conducting autopsies and could complete their work by Wednesday.
A preliminary investigation shows the students were stabbed to death, she said, and there is no indication of the use of psychoactive substances.
“Horrible,” Mabbutt told KHQ. “I’ve never seen anything like it in the 16 years I’ve been in this position.”
Murders are rare in Moscow, a rural town of about 25,000 residents east of the Washington state border. According to the police, there have been no reports of murders in the city in the last few years.
A neighbor told NBC News that Gonsalves lived in the home with Madison Mogen, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, who were also found dead. Kernodle has been dating Chapin since the spring, they said.
In an Oct. 29 Instagram post, Kernodle wished Chapin a happy birthday and said life was “so much better with you.”
Friends were active in their sororities and fraternities. Kernodle and Mogen worked together at a Greek restaurant in town, while Mogen and Gonsalves were high school students looking forward to graduation.
“One lucky girl to be surrounded by these people every day,” Gonsalves wrote on Instagram
Moscow police said they were alerted to a residence in an area about half a block from the campus due to a report of an unconscious person.
The FBI said Tuesday they were assisting in the local investigation.
“Obviously, the police can’t say there’s no risk, but what they’re seeing indicates there’s no risk of this individual randomly attacking people,” said Lata County District Attorney Bill Thompson. the Associated Press reported.
The University of Idaho canceled classes Monday and provided additional security and advisories this week. But many students had already left for vacation, and the planned visit had to be postponed until after Thanksgiving break.
Those who stayed at the school say they are taking extra precautions.
“I lock my bedroom door on top of my apartment door,” said sophomore Ainsley Gipsack, 20. “I’m not sure I believe them when they say it’s safe.”
Tim Stello reports from Moscow and Eric Ortiz from New York.