Victim's father: 2 Idaho students died together
(NewsNation) — Hundreds of community members gathered Wednesday night for a vigil to honor the University of Idaho students who were stabbed to death in a rental home Nov. 13.
A county coroner’s preliminary report determined that the students — identified as Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21 — all died from stab wounds and were likely asleep at the time of their murders.
At the vigil, Goncalves’ father disclosed that his daughter and Mogen were killed together in the same bed. He said they were lifelong best friends who were together until the end.
“These girls were absolutely beautiful. They had been friends since sixth grade,” Steve Goncalves said. “We both put them in a charter academy; they felt like they were being punished. In sixth grade, they just found each other. And every day, they did homework together, they came to our house together. They shared everything. They made a proposal to go to a regular high school so then they went to high school together. Then they started looking at colleges. They came here together. They eventually got into the same apartment together. In the end, they died together in the same room, in the same bed. It’s a shame, and it hurts. But the beauty of the two always being together is something that comforts us.”
Ethan Chapin’s mother also spoke at the vigil, where emotions ran high.
“The circumstances that bring us here tonight, they’re terrible. The hardest part: We cannot change the outcome,” Stacy Chapin said.
Police would not share where each victim was found inside the rental home. But based on pictures from inside, analyzed by NewsNation, it appears that there are two bedrooms on the first floor with a bathroom in the middle. The second floor also appears to have two bedrooms and another bathroom. On the third floor, there are two bedrooms and another bathroom. According to investigators, the slayings happened on the second and third floors of the home.
Meanwhile, police are acknowledging what they call an “internal miscommunication” after Latah County, Idaho, prosecuting attorney Bill Thompson told NewsNation that it was not necessarily one victim who was targeted, but more so the home itself.
“My understanding is investigators believe that whoever’s responsible was specifically looking at this particular residence,” Thompson said Tuesday.
Morgan Romero, an anchor for KTVB in Boise, tweeted Wednesday evening that Thompson confirmed that one of the victims in the home was in fact the target of the murders. It’s unclear which student he meant, but police insist conflicting information had been released.
“The Latah County Prosecutor’s Office stated the suspect(s) specifically looked at this residence and that one or more of the occupants were undoubtedly targeted,” Moscow police said. “We have spoken with the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office and identified this was a miscommunication. Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but (they) continue to investigate.”
The investigation has not seen much apparent progress, and any suspects or persons of interest have not been publicly identified in the case.
NewsNation has been covering this story from the beginning, and will continue its investigation in a special hour on Sunday. National correspondent Brian Entin will host “Special Report: Idaho Murder Mystery” on Dec. 4 at 9 p.m. ET on NewsNation. Here’s how you can watch.