Police have not yet identified a suspect or motive in the slayings of four University of Idaho students stabbed to death over the weekend and are pleading with the public for tips.
The bodies of the four victims were discovered at an off-campus home Sunday afternoon in Moscow, Idaho, where one local official described the slayings as a “crime of passion,” according to The New York Times.
In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said that although he believes the victims were targeted in an isolated attack, he cannot assure the public is safe until those responsible are found.
“We do not have a suspect at this time and that individual is still out there,” Fry told reporters, according to a recording of the press conference provided by KTVB-TV. “We cannot say that there is no threat to the community, and as we have stated, please stay vigilant, report any suspicious activity, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.”
The students killed have been identified as 21-year-old Madison Mogen, 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves, 20-year-old Ethan Chapin and 20-year-old Xana Kernodle.
Fry said that Chapin and Kernodle had been at an on-campus party earlier in the evening, while Mogen and Goncalves were at a bar downtown before returning home sometime after 1:45 a.m. Sunday.
Investigators believe the killings occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, hours before police received a call around noon reporting an unconscious person in the home.
There was no sign of forced entry and police have not located the murder weapon.
Two other roommates who lived at the residence were home at the time of the attack, Fry told reporters. It is not clear whether those individuals were aware of the slayings at the time they occurred or why they had not reported the stabbings earlier. Fry declined to reveal what they told investigators and whether the 911 caller was one of the surviving roommates, although he said both were home when police responded.
“We don’t know why that call came in at noon and not the middle of the night,” Fry told reporters.
Fry added that the other roommates who were home were not injured and that whatever happened inside was not a hostage situation.
“We’re not just focusing on them,” Fry told reporters. “We’re focusing on everybody that may be coming and going from the residence.”
Local, state and federal authorities are continuing to investigate and collect evidence from the scene, while autopsies of the victims were set to occur today.
Colonel Kedrick Wills, director of the Idaho State Police, said all resources are being brought in to identify those responsible.
“We want to do everything we can to make sure this is done correctly and that the people that are responsible for this are brought to justice,” Wills told reporters.
Fry urged anyone with information to call a tip line at 208-883-7180.
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[Featured image: Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and Kaylee Goncalves/Instagram]