The father of slain University of Idaho student, Xana Kernodle, says she put up a fight before an elusive killer stabbed her and fled the scene, leaving her and three others dead in an off-campus rental home.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Moscow police said along with Zana, 20, deputies found Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, dead inside a residence off of King Road Sunday afternoon, near the University of Idaho campus.
Xana’s father, Jeffrey Kernodle told Arizona Family’s CBS 5 that whoever took the victims’ lives had to have known the home number code or at least knew how to get into the residence through a sliding door.
“Every time you go, you have to go around the house because of the number code so they either knew that or went around and maybe found the slider door open,” Kernodle said. “I think midnight was the last time we heard from her, and she was fine.”
Kernodle added that his daughter was a fighter and likely put up a fight against the killer.
“Bruises, torn by the knife. She’s a tough kid. Whatever she wanted to do, she could do it,” Kernodle said.
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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 confirmed 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.
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: Xana Kernodle;/Facebook]
Additional reporting by Jonathan Anderson