Surviving roommates of four slain University of Idaho students break their silence

The four University of Idaho students who were fatally stabbed at a home in Moscow last month were remembered at an emotional memorial service on Friday, where two of their surviving roommates broke their silence in a written message paying their respects. It was the first time either roommate was identified by name.

Family and friends came together to attend Friday’s service honoring the lives of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, the college students killed in a brutal quadruple murder during the early morning hours of Nov. 13, which has not yet been solved. 

Goncalves, Mogen and Kernodle were housemates and lived at the off-campus rental where the killings happened. Chapin, also a University of Idaho student, did not live at the residence but was dating Kernodle. 

A flyer seeking information on the murders of four students in Moscow, Idaho
A flyer asks the public for information as police investigate the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students in Moscow, Idaho.

LINDSEY WASSON / REUTERS


At the memorial, a local pastor read a letter written by two roommates who, police say, were home and apparently asleep while the murders took place upstairs, likely some time between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. 

“Maddie, Xana, Kaylee and Ethan were all one of a kind,” the pastor read aloud, from the letter written by survivors Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke. 

“To Xana and Ethan: they were the perfect pair together and had this unstoppable relationship,” Mortensen wrote, while Funke said, “You were all gifts to this world in your own special way, and it just won’t be the same without you.”

Weeks after the killings, police still have not identified a suspect, recovered a weapon or pinned down a possible motive. However, authorities are still calling it a targeted attack. In a series of updates released last week, Moscow Police and the Latah County District Attorney at first seemed to walk back their initial  determination that the victims were targeted. Police ultimately released a clarifying statement saying they do believe it was a targeted attack, but they did not know if one or more of the students, or their home, was the target.

“There doesn’t appear to be any forced entry to the home,” said Aaron Snell, a spokesperson for the Moscow Police Department. “There were two survivors, and as well the actual crime scenes themselves really lead detectives and the chief to firmly and continue to believe that this was targeted.”

Police say they have ruled out the surviving roommates, who called 911 to report an “unconscious person,” as suspects. But the lack of arrest in this case is fueling frustration among some of the victim’s families. 

Alivea Goncalves, the sister of Kaylee Goncalves, spoke about this during a NewsNation interview about the investigation.

“Law enforcement is kind of throwing around this word ‘targeted,’ but we don’t know that means, and it almost makes it feel alienating because we don’t have any more information on that,” Alivea Goncalves said.

“Not in the immediate circle by any means, but a few of the names that have been circulating around … I think it’s hard not to kind of dig into this,” she added. “And I don’t know how much of that is we have so little information from law enforcement.”

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