February 5, 2023

Idaho authorities continue to investigate whether one of the slain university students had a stalker, police say | CNN



CNN
 — 

Three weeks after four Idaho college students were found stabbed to death in an off-campus house, Moscow police said they are still looking into the possibility that one of the victims had a stalker.

Police outlined a situation in October when a man appeared to be following Kaylee Goncalves, one of the victims, outside a local business, according to a news release from the department. Police said this was an isolated incident, and the man and an associate were trying to meet women at the business, which police said was corroborated through additional investigation. It was not an ongoing pattern of stalking. There is currently no evidence tying the two men to the killings, the release said.

Last month, investigators looked “extensively” into hundreds of pieces of information about Goncalves having a stalker, but “have not been able to verify or identify a stalker,” police said.

Police are still asking for tips from the public on information regarding a possible stalker.

“Investigators continue looking into information about Kaylee having a stalker. Information about a potential stalker or unusual occurrences should go through the Tip Line,” according to the release.

Goncalves, 21, along with roommates Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kernodle’s boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20, who did not live in the house, were found dead November 13. Police initially said the slayings took place after 1:45 a.m., but no one called 911 until noon that same day. In the updated release Monday, police said the surviving roommates called friends to the home because they believed one of the victims had passed out and was not waking up. This prompted one of the surviving roommates to to call 911 for an unconscious person. Police arrived and found all four victims whose cause and manner of death was ruled four days later to be homicide by stabbing, the release said.

The four victims were likely stabbed multiple times in their sleep just days before Thanksgiving break, police have said. Local, state and federal investigators have all been working to find a suspect, and they are starting to receive forensic testing results from the crime scene, law enforcement experts told CNN.

In a Saturday update, the Moscow Police Department said it’s received more than 2,000 email tips, phone tips and more than 1,000 submissions to an FBI link. The killings have unnerved the town of Moscow, with its 26,000 residents, because it had not recorded a murder since 2015.

At this point in the investigation, police have not identified a suspect or found the murder weapon, believed to be a knife. Police have also not released the names of the surviving roommates who were said to have been in the home at the time of the killings. CNN did not report their names until they were publicly identified during a memorial service Sunday when a pastor read letters written by the two roommates – identified as Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke.

In the letters that were read aloud Sunday, Mortensen and Funke wrote how much they would miss the victims and what they meant to them as both roommates and friends.

“My life was greatly impacted to have known these four beautiful people,” the pastor read in Mortensen’s letter. “My people who changed my life in so many ways and made me so happy. I know it will be hard to not have the four of them in our lives, but I know Xana, Ethan, Maddie and Kaylee would want us to live life and be happy and they would want us to celebrate their lives.”

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