Police in Idaho are wrapping up the investigation at the house where four University of Idaho students were brutally murdered – despite the killer still being at large and officials appearing to be no closer to solving the crime.
Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found stabbed to death inside an off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho, on 13 November.
The three female students all lived at the three-storey home on King Road together with two other roommates and Chapin was staying the night with his girlfriend Kernodle.
Two of the victims were found on the third floor of the home, with the other two on the second floor. The two other roommates were unharmed in the attack and appear to have slept through the murders.
Several officials have described the crime scene as “bloody” and unlike anything they have ever seen before, as each victim was stabbed multiple times with a fixed-blade knife and bled out in the home.
Now 17 days into the investigation, the killer or killers are still at large with no suspects identified, no arrests made and the murder weapon still nowhere to be found.
Law enforcement have fallen under scrutiny as terrified students and residents of the small college town are racked by fear that the perpetrator could still be among them.
Despite the lack of progress in the case, Idaho State Police Communications Director Aaron Snell revealed the investigation of the crime scene is coming to end.
“The collection of evidence at the house is coming to a conclusion,” he told Fox News Digital on Monday.
“It’s a very complex crime scene, and we’re doing a very thorough investigation.”
Mr Snell added that he doesn’t know “what the timeline is” for releasing the house, saying: “I know there are conversations and discussions about how that may work. I’m just not sure when.”
On Tuesday, police seized five cars from outside the home – some of them believed to belong to the victims.
A tow truck removed the vehicles from outside the property on King Road on Tuesday and took them to “a more secure long-term storage location to continue processing evidence,” the Moscow Police Department said.
“Today, as part of the ongoing homicide investigation and original search warrant, there will be an increase in detective activity and tow trucks on-site as investigators move five vehicles from within the police perimeter to a more secure long-term storage location to continue processing evidence,” the department said in a statement.
Despite working round the clock to try to solve the case, investigators continue to be stumped by the case.
Latah County Prosecutor Prosecutor Bill Thompson told NewsNation on Tuesday that law enforcement still doesn’t have any suspects on its radar, admitting that “it could” take some time to catch the killer.
“I think it’s fair to say that there have been people of interest to the investigators and everyone that they’ve identified so far they’ve been able to exonerate. Perhaps, exonerate isn’t the best word. But they’ve been able to eliminate them as being an actual suspect,” he said.
“And we do not have a name of a person or persons who are actual suspects. That’s what they’re focusing on still.
“I’m not aware of any single person with a name that we’re focusing on, the investigators are focusing on.”
He added that “it could” be some time before the case is solved, “or it could break open any time”.
This admission will not be welcome news to the victims’ families or to the terrified students and local residents of Moscow, living in fear that the killer could be walking among them.
Vigils to honour the four victims are being held on the university campuses on Wednesday and concerns have been raised that the perpetrator could be among the attendees.
Mr Snell said that officials were aware of these concerns, saying: “We understand there is community concern and fear. What I can say is our detectives are on top of their game.”
Goncalves’ father revealed that his family was afraid to hold a funeral for his daughter for fear that the killer would show up at that.
Steve Goncalves told ABC’s GMA on Tuesday morning that “my wife’s biggest fear, part of the reason we didn’t have a funeral, is because she couldn’t be guaranteed that that monster was going to not be there”.
In the notoriously safe college town, there has been a surge in 911 calls in the aftermath of the murders, with terrified residents reporting multiple sightings of “suspicious people” as well as concerning incidents around the town.
The four victims are believed to have been stabbed to death in their beds at around 3am or 4am on 13 November with a fixed-blade knife, police said. There was no signs of sexual assault on any of the victims and the murder weapon has not been recovered.
Two of the victims were found on the second floor and two on the third floor of the home.
Kernodle and Chapin were at a sorority party at Sigma Chi house together and arrived back at the home at around 1.45am.
Goncalves and Mogen had spent the 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”.
Investigators previously said that the two best friends also arrived home at around 1.45am but updated the timeline on Sunday to reveal that they arrived at the property at around 1.56am, citing “digital evidence”.
Two surviving roommatres were also out that night and arrived home at around 1am, police said. The two women, who lived in rooms on the first floor of the home, are believed to have slept through the brutal killings and were unharmed.
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.
The two other roommates had first called friends to the home because they believed one of the second floor victims was unconscious and would not wake up. When the friends arrived, a 911 call was made from one of the roommates’ phones.
Police arrived on the scene to find the four victims dead from multiple stab wounds.
While investigators are yet to identify any suspects, they have ruled out several people: the two surviving housemates, the man who was caught on camera with Mogen and Goncalves at a food truck in the downtown area before they headed home on the night of the slayings, the person who gave Mogen and Goncalves a ride home from the food truck, Goncalves’ former long-term boyfriend and the friends who were in the home when the 911 call was made have all been ruled out as suspects.