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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

State dedicates $1M to UI killing investigation as police plead for more leads

Moscow police Capt. Roger Lanier provides updates Wednesday to the investigation surrounding the fatal stabbings of four University of Idaho students earlier this month.  (Garrett Cabeza / The Spokesman-Review)

MOSCOW, Idaho – Police on Wednesday implored the public for tips on the unsolved killings of four University of Idaho students as Idaho Gov. Brad Little promised up to $1 million to boost the investigation into last week’s stabbings .

The financial assistance was announced at a news conference during which police also asked for video surveillance.

Police have no suspects and have yet to locate the fixed-blade knife used in the attacks that killed Ethan Chapin, 20; Xana Kernodle, 20; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; and Madison Mogen, 21.

“No bit of information is too small and every tip will be pursued,” Moscow Police Chief James Fry told reporters during a 35-minute news conference inside the Idaho Central Credit Union Arena.

People with information can contact the tip line at (208) 883-7180 or email Digital media can be submitted to

“We all want to understand why this happened and what drove someone to do this,” Fry said. “The families of those involved and our entire community deserve to know.”

Police found two students dead on the second floor and two students dead on the third floor of a home on King Road on Nov. 13. The surviving roommates called friends to come to the residence that morning because they believed one of the victims on the second floor was unconscious, police said on Facebook.

Someone called 911 on one of the surviving roommates’ cellphones when the friends arrived and dispatch spoke to multiple people at the house. Investigators have ruled out the people at the scene and others as suspects. Police on Wednesday continued to decline to release the names of those who spoke to 911 dispatch.

Moscow police Capt. Roger Lanier said detectives looked into reports of Goncalves having a stalker, but couldn’t corroborate those statements. Police continue to seek information on those reports, he said.

Lanier said investigative efforts on the case, the department’s “highest priority,” will continue through Thanksgiving.

Idaho State Police Col. Kedrick Wills said investigators have collected 103 pieces of evidence, taken about 4,000 photographs, conducted multiple three-dimensional scans of the residence, processed over 1,000 total tips and conducted 150 interviews.

“We understand you want answers,” Wills said. “We want answers too, but these take time.”

Wills said Little is making up to $1 million available to investigate the crimes.

“He’s making sure the state of Idaho provides all of the resources possible to ensure that the person or persons responsible for this are brought to justice,” Wills said.

In a memo Tuesday from UI President Scott Green to students and employees, Green wrote that faculty were asked to prepare in-person and remote learning options when students return to finish the final two weeks of the semester starting next week. The university’s two commencement ceremonies still are planned for Dec. 10.

Fry said a “very heavy” police presence will continue in Moscow when students return from Thanksgiving break.

“We are 100% dedicated to making sure that this continues to be a safe place for students to do what students need to do,” Wills said.

Moscow Deputy City Supervisor Tyler Palmer said Mayor Art Bettge and the City Council support all necessary law enforcement resources to ensure safety in the community and to find the person or people responsible for the killings.

“The loss of Kaylee, Madison, Xana and Ethan has sent an overwhelming, palpable wave of grief, confusion, sorrow and anger to our peaceful community,” Palmer said.

A candlelight vigil in honor of the slain students is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday on the UI Administration Building lawn. Dean of Students Blaine Eckles said the location could change pending weather. The vigil will be livestreamed.