Investigators are currently seeking surveillance footage from “two areas of interest” around the city of Moscow as they hunt for the knife-wielding assailant who stabbed four University of Idaho students to death inside their off-campus home.
Businesses and homes within the geographical areas are being asked to share all outside surveillance video taken between 3am and 6am on 13 November – whether there appears to be motion and content or not.
“Investigators have determined the two areas of interests within the city and have provided maps which are on our Facebook page and on our website,” Roger Lanier, operations captain of Moscow Police Department, said at a press conference on Sunday. “And these are areas that they have canvassed for additional surveillance video and tips and have contacted several residents in the areas.”
The areas include: West Taylor Ave (north boundary), West Palouse River Dr (south boundary), Highway 95 south to the 2700 block of Highway 95 S (east boundary) and Arboretum & Botanical Garden (west boundary).
The Independent revealed on Sunday that a grassroots search was underway in the arboretum, organised by the cousin of murder victim Xana Kernodle.
Family members, friends and local volunteers were seen combing through the grounds – located on the same road as several Greek houses, including the Sigma Chi house where Kernodle and her boyfriend and fellow victim Ethan Chapin spent their last night – looking for any clues that could help track down the killer.
The areas of interest in question are close to the home on King Road, Moscow, where Kernodle, Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves, and Madison Mogen were stabbed to death in the early hours of the morning of 13 November.
Goncalves and Mogen had spent Saturday night at The Corner Club bar in downtown Moscow, before stopping by a food truck and then getting a ride home from an unnamed “private party”. Kernodle and Chapin were at a sorority party at Sigma Chi house together.
Police did not disclose the reason for the narrow three-hour window of time.
All four victims are believed to have returned to the student home at around 1.45am.
Multiple calls were then made from the phones of Goncalves and Mogen to the phone of Goncalves’ former longtime boyfriend between 2.26am and 2.52am. None of the calls were answered.
The time of death of the victims is believed to be around 3am or 4am, officials said last week.
Given all four victims are believed to have been home before 3am and killed before 6am, it is likely that investigators are hoping to spot the killer in surveillance footage once they left the property after carrying out the murders.
The horrific crime scene went unnoticed for several more hours, with police receiving a 911 call at 11.58am on Sunday, reporting an “unconscious individual” at the home.
Two other housemates were inside the home at time of the murders and were left unharmed.
Police said that the pair had returned to the property at around 1am – not long before the four victims also returned home – and appear to have slept through what happened.
When the roommates woke up on the Sunday, they called some unidentified friends to the home because they believed that one of the victims on the second floor “had passed out and was not waking up”.
After the friends arrived on the scene, one person in the group made the 911 call.
The roommates and the unidentified friends were still on the scene when officers arrived.
The call was made from the cellphone of one of the surviving roommates but police are continuing to remain tightlipped about the identity of the caller.
It is also unclear what the roommates and “other friends” had discovered prior to placing the call and what led them to describe a victim as merely “unconscious”.
The coroner has revealed that all four victims were stabbed multiple times with a large knife while in their beds. There was no signs of sexual assault on any of the victims.
Their bodies were found on the second and third floors of the three-storey home.
The murder weapon has not been recovered, with investigators searching for a military-style Ka-Bar or “rambo” knife they believe to have been used.
Investigators have ruled out the surviving roommates and all the other individuals in the house when the 911 call was placed as potential suspects in the case. Goncalves’ ex-boyfriend and a mysterious man captured on the food truck footage have also been ruled out.
Despite the brutality of the violent slayings, local officials spent the first three days on from the murders insisting that there was “no ongoing threat” to the public and that the victims were targeted in a “one-off”, “targeted” attack.
On Wednesday, officials appeared to walk back these comments, admitting that “there is a threat”.
“We still believe it’s a targeted attack, but the reality is, there’s still a person out there who committed horrible, horrible crimes,” said Moscow Police Chief Fry. “So there is a threat out there still, possibly. We don’t know it’s going to be to anybody else. But we all have to be aware of our surroundings and make sure that we’re watching out for each other.”
Investigators are asking anyone who observed notable behavior, has video surveillance, or can provide relevant information about the murders, to call the Tip Line at 208-883-7180 or email email@example.com