Police in Moscow, Idaho, tried to calm community concerns Wednesday about the shooting death of four students at the University of Idaho — though police said they have no suspects. remained in custody and declined to provide additional information to the public.
“We hear you, and we understand your fear,” the Moscow Police Department said in a press release. “We want you to know that we, like you, have been devastated and saddened by the lives of young people who were needlessly cut short.
“We made a decision early in the investigation that we don’t believe there was a threat to the community. The evidence suggests this was an attack.”
That evidence has not been made public, and police have said they have shared everything they can without compromising the investigation. Police also said they hoped to have more information on Wednesday, and a press conference was scheduled for the afternoon.
The speech came the next day four college students were found dead in an outdoor area. No weapons were found but police said preliminary information led them to believe a “weapon” like a knife was used in the four murders.
Killings and no reports indicate Moscow, a 25,000-strong city on the Idaho-Washington border. The college town has not recorded a homicide since 2015, according to state police records. Residents are panicked and are “getting out of Dodge,” Latah County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Mikolajczyk told the Idaho Statesman.
The father of one of the victims issued a statement Wednesday calling on police to release more information about the murder.
Jim Chapin, the father of Idaho and local police, which only perpetuates false and unfounded rumors in the press and social media,” Jim Chapin, father of Ethan Chapin, said in statement. “The silence adds to our family’s grief after our son’s murder. To Ethan and his three friends who were killed in Moscow, Idaho, and to our entire family, I urge the police to tell the truth, share what they know, find the killer, and protect the greater community.”
University of Idaho President Scott Green offered condolences Monday and deferred to police’s belief that there is no threat to the public.
“Moscow police do not believe that there is an ongoing risk in the community based on the information gathered during the preliminary investigation, however, we ask our employees to be understanding , change and work with our students who want to return home to spend time with their families,” he said. “We do not know the search time, but we will continue to communicate with the school text when we learn more.”
CNN has reached out to the school for comment and information on the case.
What little the public knows is grisly. Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told CNN affiliate KXLY what she saw at the horrific scene.
“There was quite a bit of blood in the room and, you know, it was pretty traumatic to see four college students die in the dorm,” he said.
Mabbutt said the next decision could provide more information about what happened.
“There was some, you know, some evidence of the suspect that we got during the autopsy that was helpful,” Mabbutt said.
The University of Idaho has identified victims as:
- Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington, is a senior majoring in recreation, sport and tourism management and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
- Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona, junior majoring in marketing and a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.
- Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a senior management major and member of Pi Beta Phi sorority.
- Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho, a senior majoring in general studies and a member of Alpha Phi sorority.
Just a few hours before their death, Goncalves posted a photo of the four with the caption, “a girl is lucky to be surrounded by ppl everyday,” adding a heart emoji.
Chapin is one of three children, all of whom attended the University of Idaho, the family said in a statement.
“Ethan lit up every room he walked in and was a kind, loyal, loving son, brother, cousin, and friend,” said his mother Stacy Chapin. have said. “Words cannot express the heartache and devastation our family has experienced. It breaks my heart to know that we won’t be able to hug or laugh with Ethan again, but it’s also scary to think of the horrible way he was taken from us. ”
Alivea Goncalves, Kaylee’s sister, sent a letter to the Idaho Statesman on behalf of her family and Mogen’s.
“They were smart, they were careful, careful and everything still happened,” he said. “No one is locked up and that means no one is safe. Yes, we all care. Yes, we all hold. But the strongest one of these emotions is anger. We are angry. You should be angry. ”
Jazzmin Kernodle, Xana’s sister, described her as “kind, funny and loved by everyone who met her.”
“Xana is one of the best people I have ever known. I am lucky to have her as a sister. He was loved by many and had great friends around him. You rarely meet someone like Xana,” he said.
“He was very patient, and always raised a room. He made me so happy, and I wish I had more time with him. He has a lot of life. My family and I are at a loss for words, confused, and anxiously waiting for updates on the investigation. ”
He also offered condolences to other victims and their families. “My sister is very lucky to have them in her life.”
Because of the murder, the city canceled its long-running celebration of Artwalk “in honor of the victims of this week’s tragedy on the University of Idaho campus and the residents of Vandal and Moscow communities who join in the mourning.”