One of the University of Idaho murder victims had already moved out of the murder house at the time she and three other students were stabbed to death last November.
Kaylee Goncalves, 21, was set to graduate early and had a job lined up in Austin, Texas, according to her parents, Steve and Kristi Goncalves, who spoke to NBC’s Dateline for its special, “Killings in a College Town.” She returned to the house she’d lived in with her best friend, Madison Mogen, and four other students on November 12 to show off her new Range Rover to Mogen, her parents said, and to attend a party.
The next day, however. Goncalves and Mogen, along with Xana Kernodle and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, were dead, brutally stabbed to death in the early hours of November 13, as CrimeOnline previously reported. The students’ bodies weren’t found until late that morning when two other roommates woke up. That launched weeks of detective work by professionals and amateurs alike that eventually led the to the arrest of Washington State University graduate student Bryan Kohberger at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania.
Kohberger — who was studying criminology at WSU, just a few miles over the state line from the University of Idaho in Moscow — has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of burglary.
At a vigil for the slain students on November 30, Steve Goncalves said that his daughter and Mogen “died together in the same room, in the same bed,” prompting wild speculation and and a slew of rumors from online sleuths. A few days later, sources let it be known that Kaylee had moved out of the house to prepare for her trip to Texas, but Dateline’s interview was the first time her parents discussed the reason Kaylee was back at the house.
“These girls were best friends since sixth grade, like inseparable,” Kristi Goncalves said. “Maddie had been a huge part of our life.”
Kohberger was identified as a suspect in part because of DNA found on a knife sheath left near the bodies of Mogen and Goncalves. With a high degree of certainty, the DNA linked up with DNA found in the trash at the Kohbergers’ Pennsylvania home, and that DNA belonged to Kohberger’s father.
Steve and Kristi Goncalves said they hoped that the two woman had something to do with the abandoned sheath.
“I just said, ‘Can you believe that?’” Kristi Goncalves said when she read the affidavit that detailed the discovery of the sheath “And I said, ‘I hope that maybe a struggle, she pulled it off him, in the struggle or whatever … ‘”
“It’s a checkmate type moment,” Steve Goncalves said. “And our girls were a part of it.”
Before Kohberger was arrested, Steve Goncalves complained bitterly about how the Moscow Police Department was handling the investigation, calling them cowards, demanding to be able to “peer review” the alibis of people the investigators cleared as suspects, insisting that those investigators “messed up a million times,” hiring a private detectives, and threatening to sue to force detectives to reveal all the information they’d gathered. After Kohberger’s arrest, however, he admitted he was wrong.
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[Featured image: Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves (left)Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle;/Instagram]