Police warn of ongoing threat after University of Idaho slayings
Idaho police are now warning there could be a threat to the city of Moscow after four University of Idaho students were slain by an unknown suspect over the weekend.
Moscow Police Chief James Fry said in a press conference Wednesday that residents should be cautious after the grisly murders.
“We cannot say that there is no threat to the community,” Fry said. “Please stay vigilant, report any suspicious activity and be aware of your surroundings at all times.”
Fry said police have no information about the suspect at the moment and have not identified a murder weapon, but they have dozens of officers on the case.
The Moscow Police Department at first offered little information about the four University of Idaho students found dead inside a home on Sunday afternoon, only noting they were likely killed with an “edged” weapon by an unknown suspect in a targeted attack.
Before the Wednesday press conference, the families of the four college students slammed the local police department investigating the crime for failing to provide enough information about the case.
There was also confusion as to why police originally said there was no ongoing threat to the community when the suspect was still at large.
Jim Chapin, the father of 20-year-old University of Idaho student Ethan Chapin, told Fox News in a statement that the lack of information “fuels false rumors and innuendo in the press and social media.”
“The silence further compounds our family’s agony after our son’s murder,” Jim Chapin said.
“For Ethan and his three dear friends slain in Moscow, Idaho, and all of our families, I urge officials to speak the truth, share what they know, find the assailant, and protect the greater community.”
Alivea Goncalves, the sister of 21-year-old victim Kaylee Goncalves, told NBC affiliate KHQ there was “no way” police could say with “any amount of confidence” the crime was isolated until the suspect was caught.
“Someone did this with a purpose of doing this. Not once, not twice, not three times but four,” she said. “I don’t know anything scarier than that.”
The other victims in the case are Madison Mogen, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, according to police identification.
Police said Ethan Chapin and Kerndole were at a party on campus on Saturday night before the attack, while Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were at a downtown bar.
All four students eventually returned home. The attack occurred sometime in the early morning hours of Sunday, according to police.
Police do not believe there was forced entry into the home. Autopsies on the victims are being conducted and could finish by Wednesday night.
Some students at the University of Idaho have reportedly left early ahead of Thanksgiving break.
University President Scott Green said at the Wednesday press conference the “weeks ahead” would be challenging for the school community.
“We will support each other as we grieve and we will move through this together as the Vandal family,” he said, using the college’s nickname.