University of Idaho killings: police receive over 260 digital submissions

<span>Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP</span>
Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP

Police hunting who is behind the shocking killings of four University of Idaho students have received hundreds of digital media submissions via an FBI internet link as they continue to seek clues for the unsolved crime.

In a statement released on Friday, the Moscow police department said that more than 260 digital media submissions have been sent in by community members since authorities launched an investigation into the quadruple homicide that happened on 13 November.

“To date, 113 pieces of physical evidence have been collected and sent to the Idaho state police crime lab for processing and analysis,” the statement also said, adding that the Idaho governor, Brad Little, has directed up to $1m in state emergency funds for the investigation.

On 13 November, Ethan Chapin, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Madison Mogen, 21, were stabbed to death in their sleep in an off-campus house located near the university’s sorority and fraternity houses. According to Moscow police, two other unidentified roommates were asleep during the attack.

Since then, a manhunt has been under way as residents remain afraid and frustrated over the lack of clues and leads. Police have yet to identify any suspected motive and the identity of the perpetrator of the attack, which has stunned the small college town in a rural part of the state.

Earlier this week, police said that investigators had looked into more than 1,000 tips and had interviewed over 150 people to no avail.

Investigators have been working throughout the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend, but authorities have given no indication that they are any closer to making an arrest.

Police chief James Fry said: “We continue moving forward to understand why this occurred in our community.” Not only has a suspect not yet been identified but a murder weapon has not been found.

The city, population of 26,000, is surrounded by rolling wheat and bean fields and had not seen a homicide since 2015.

According to Friday’s statement, authorities have also taken about 4,000 crime scene photographs and developed multiple 3D scans of the residence.

In Friday’s statement, authorities pushed back against online reports of the victims being tied and gagged, saying that they “are not accurate”.

Autopsies conducted by the Latah county coroner confirmed that some of the victims had defensive wounds and that each was stabbed multiple times, Additionally, there were no signs of sexual assault.

“Detectives are seeking all outside surveillance video taken from 3am to 6am on Sunday, November 13th, from businesses and residences within the geographical area listed below. Detectives request all available videos – whether there appears to be motion and content or not,” the statement said.

“Detectives are also seeking additional tips and surveillance video of any unusual behavior on the night of November 12th into the early hours of November 13th while Kaylee and Madison were in downtown Moscow and while Ethan and Xana were at the Sigma Chi house. Anyone who observed unusual behavior near these areas or has video surveillance is asked to submit their tips,” it added.

Currently, detectives do not believe that the two surviving roommates are involved in the crime. Neither do they believe that any individual at the residence when police were called was involved.

The killings have shaken the university community as many students decided to leave campus because of how “emotionally difficult” it was for them to remain, according to Tanner McClain, president of the Associated Students of the University of Idaho.

“The whole situation is just terrifying from the start,” McClain told CNN, adding: “I’m across the other side of the state right now, and I’m still scared from the overall situation.”

Another student, Emma Vigil, echoed similar sentiments to CNN, saying: “I don’t know how anyone is supposed to feel safe or go back. All of my friends have left.

“I don’t know how I could be safe if they haven’t caught the person who did it,” she added.

  • The Associated Press contributed reporting