Autopsies are complete in connection with four University of Idaho students found deceased Sunday in a rented home near the Moscow campus.
According to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said the victims were stabbed to death in a “personal” attack carried out by a large knife.
“It would have had to been a large knife,” Mabbutt said, describing the attack as “personal,” with some of the victims being stabbed more than once.
Although it’s unclear who was stabbed first, Mabbutt added that some of the wounds on the victims could have been defensive wounds. There were no signs of sexual assault and it’s not a case of murder-suicide, Mabbutt said, The New York Times reports.
Mabbutt, who has served as a coroner for 16 years, said she has never seen a case in which four students were killed at the same location.
“I don’t think I’ve had another death by stabbing,” she added.
“I’m with everybody else that somebody needs to be caught … it’s not going to bring these people’s lives back, but I think it will bring a bigger sense of peace to the community.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Moscow police said Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were found dead inside a residence off of King Road Sunday afternoon, near the University of Idaho campus.
A local official described the slayings as a “crime of passion” — although the official who made that comment, Mayor Art Bettge, later said that was just one of several possible scenarios — while Moscow police initially indicated that it was an “isolated, targeted attack, and there is no imminent threat to the community at large.”
No weapon has been located and no suspects are in custody at this time.
Moscow Police Chief James 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.
There was no sign of forced entry.
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 for the murders.
“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: Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves (left); Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle;/Instagram]
Additional reporting by Jonathan Anderson