4 University Students Found Dead Near Campus

University officials on Monday identified four University of Idaho students who died in suspected homicides in off-campus housing.

The Moscow Police Department identified the four college students as Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21. Based on their social media accounts, the four appeared to be friends.

Chapin and Kernodle appeared to be dating, with Kernodle’s Instagram caption reading, “Life is so much better with you in it, love you!” in celebration of Chapin’s birthday.

Police said Mogen and Goncalves were from Coeur d’Alene and Rathdrum, respectively, in Idaho. Washington was the home state of Chapin.

According to police, Kernodle is from Arizona, but school officials claim she is from Post Falls, Idaho.

The family of Goncalves remembered her as “our defender and protector,” KREM2 reported.

“She is tough and fair. The ultimate middle child,” revealed her sister on behalf of the family. “She did absolutely everything she set her mind to. She didn’t hold back on love, fights or life. Kaylee was the ultimate go getter and constantly wanted an adventure.”

As details surrounding the case remain sparse, the causes of death in connection with the homicide probe have not yet been released.

“Currently, there is no one in custody,” police announced in a press release.

“The Moscow Police does not believe there is an ongoing community risk based on information gathered during the preliminary investigation.”

Moscow Mayor Art Bettge told the New York Times Monday there was no danger to the broader public, but didn’t say how the victims were killed or whether a suspect was still on the loose.

According to the Times, Bettge said cops need time to figure out what happened after a crime of this magnitude. According to Bettge, “The overall assessment is that it’s a crime of passion.”

Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told the newspaper autopsies would be conducted Wednesday but ruled out a murder-suicide. Without police permission, she could not reveal more.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the authorities.

According to the school, Chapin was a freshman and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and Kernodle was a junior studying marketing and a member of Pi Beta Phi.

The university said Mogen and Goncalves were seniors majoring in marketing and general studies, respectively.

Due to the tragic discovery Sunday, the university initially ordered students to shelter in place until police confirmed there was no ongoing threat. In north-central Idaho, Moscow has a population of more than 25,000 and is about 80 miles from Spokane. 

Out of respect for the four students whose lives were cut short, University President Scott Green canceled classes on Monday.

“It is with deep sadness that I share with you that the university was notified today of the death of four University of Idaho students living off-campus believed to be victims of homicide,” Green said in a statement late Sunday night.

Counselors will be available in the campus counseling center for students, while employee assistance programs will be available for employees.

“An event of this magnitude can understandably have significant impacts on those left behind,” wrote Green. “As Vandals, we must come together and lift each other up.”

Statewide condolences were expressed, including from House Rep. Mike Simpson.

“Kathy and I send our deepest condolences to the families of these four students — our hearts ache for your loss. Today we are all Vandals,” he explained.

It comes just hours after three people were killed in a shooting at the University of Virginia. The manhunt for the gunman, in that case, lasted 12 hours and ended Monday night with the arrest of the alleged shooter.