The small college town of Moscow is reeling after four University of Idaho students were savagely murdered more than a week ago, and a series of perplexing questions remain unanswered.
Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were stabbed to death on November 13 between 3 and 4 a.m. on the second and third floors of a rented house near campus and the fraternity.
Investigators, amateur online sleuths, and the families of the victims are desperately searching for leads, along with the Moscow Police Department, Idaho State Police, and the FBI.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said the victims were likely ambushed in their sleep with a large knife, and that some of the students killed had defensive wounds, suggesting a violent struggle.
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However, two other roommates, who were home at the time, did not appear to notice any commotion and did not call the police for more than eight hours.
“How do you take four lives and no one listens?” Joseph Morgan, distinguished scholar of applied forensic science at Jacksonville State University, told Fox News Digital. “This sent shivers down my spine.”
No suspect or murder weapon
Authorities have not identified any suspects or persons of interest in the killings or determined whether the attack was carried out by more than one assailant.
The coroner previously said the killers likely used a large knife to stab each of the victims multiple times in the chest, but police have not recovered the murder weapon.
Retired NYPD Sgt. Joseph Giacalone said the investigation is complicated by the fact that most of the students leave town for the holidays.
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“If the killer is a fellow student, he’s long gone,” he said.
What is the motive for the shocking quadruple homicide?
Officials told Fox News Digital that they had not zeroed in on any potential motives and that all options remained on the table, including a crime of passion and a robbery gone wrong.
Mabbutt said there were no signs that any of the victims had been sexually assaulted. But the nature of the crime suggested it was personal, Morgan said.
“This is a crime of passion,” he said. “You have an individual who was willing to get so close that he could feel his victim’s breath as he plunged the knife into his breast.”
He added that a crime can still be sexually motivated in the absence of a sexual assault.
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Gascolane agreed that the nature of the crime suggested that the attackers knew their victims. “Strangers can’t make you that angry,” he pointed out.
Who called 911?
Surviving roommates summoned friends to the King Road home because they believed one of the victims on the second floor had passed out, police revealed Sunday at a news conference.
At 11:58 a.m., a 911 call made from the cell phones of one of the surviving roommates requested help for an unconscious person. Several people spoke to the dispatcher before the police arrived.
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Police have not revealed who made the initial call, but have cleared the surviving victims and friends as suspects.
How were four people stabbed to death without anyone hearing a ruckus?
Property manager Merida McClanahan told Fox News Digital that the single-family home has two bedrooms on each floor with bathrooms and hallways in between.
On the second floor, the rooms are separated by a living room and a kitchen area.
The victims were found on the second and third floors. Police did not say which floor the two surviving roommates occupied.
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“This is a college town. It’s not unusual for students who live together to ignore loud music, laugh and yell,” the retired NYPD detective said. Herman Weisberg told Fox News Digital. “Noises that would disrupt a normal home would likely go undetected in this environment.”
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.