Coroner Reveals Slain University of Idaho Students Were Slaughtered in Bed

Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Instagram

Police arrived at the home of the four University of Idaho students who were slain on Sunday to discover their lifeless bodies still in bed, where the local coroner said it’s “likely” the friend group was slaughtered while they slept just hours prior.

Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt dished the shocking detail on Thursday in a late-night interview on NewsNation’s Banfield, where she also revealed each victim was stabbed multiple times.

Prior to Mabbutt’s comments, police had kept nearly all details about what happened inside the Moscow, Idaho, home under wraps.

The coroner’s appearance put to bed a growing list of theories that’d begun circulating, which included the possibility that the mass stabbing occurred after a house party—something neighbors said were frequent at the six-bedroom home just off campus.

When asked if she could determine a potential motive based on the wounds alone, Mabbutt said it was apparent they came from someone enraged.

“It has to be somebody that’s pretty angry in order to stab four people to death,” she said.

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Mabbutt had previously told the Spokesman-Review that some of the victims had defensive wounds from the knife attack, which she described as “personal.” She also said there was no sign of sexual assault on any of the victims.

The students killed were identified as Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho.

Police have not yet made an arrest, identified a suspect or found the weapon used in the killings—which are suspected of being carried out with a large knife.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry revealed details about the students’ final hours in a press conference on Wednesday. He said Goncalves and Mogen had spent Saturday night at a bar downtown, while Chapin and Kernodle—who were dating—spent the evening at a party on campus.

Also part of police’s investigation is a Twitch stream that captured Mogen and Goncalves ordering at a food truck around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning, just hours before they were killed.

Police said they’re probing everyone captured by the stream, as well as two other roommates, Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke, who were inside the home during the mass stabbing but were uninjured.

Authorities have been adamant that the surviving roommates—who were featured in a series of Instagram photos along with the four victims just hours before the fatal attack—are not considered to be witnesses or suspects.

Funke and Mortensen did not respond to multiple messages from The Daily Beast on their social media accounts, which are set to private. Police said neither of the women, who are both 21, called 911.

Police were first alerted to the slaying after a 911 call came in around noon on Sunday for an “unconscious person,” hours after the group is believed to have been killed.

The Daily Beast made a records request for a recording of the 911 call, but were told in an email on Thursday that the city attorney had deemed it “exempt from public disclosure.”

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While authorities have been slow to release information, family and friends of the victims have taken to social media to grill Moscow police for initially insisting the town of 25,000 was safe from a follow-up attack—something Fry now concedes is a possibility until an arrest is made.

“Your grades are severely less important than your lives,” Aubrie Goncalves, Kaylee’s sister, wrote in an Instagram post on Wednesday that urged students to flee town. “You guys are not safe until this sicko is found. If the person who did this is capable of killing four innocent people, they are capable of killing more.”

Flocks of students have fled Moscow since Monday. Classes were officially canceled on Monday but returned the following day.

The university’s president, Scott Green, fought back tears as he spoke at Wednesday’s press conference. He said then that he’d urged his staff to be flexible with students as they grieve the loss of their classmates and fear that they could be next.

While cops struggle to locate the perpetrator, family and friends have taken to social media to remember the slain students—all of whom were involved in the university’s Greek life.

Jeffrey Kernodle, Xana’s father, told an Arizona TV station on Thursday that his daughter was a “tough kid.” He also said he believes his daughter fought her killer until the end—evidenced by “defensive wounds” discovered by Mabbutt.

Xana was a junior at the university and studied marketing. She’d been dating Chapin for about a year and they lived together, Jeffrey said.

Chapin was one of a set of triplets, all of whom were enrolled at the University of Idaho, his family said in a statement. He was in his freshman year studying recreation, sport, and tourism management.

The 20-year-old’s father has been critical of Moscow police this week, calling on detectives to be more transparent with their investigation to quell rumors that’ve filled the void of information.

“There is a lack of information from the University of Idaho and the local police, which only fuels false rumors and innuendo in the press and social media,” Jim Chapin wrote in a statement to Fox News. “The silence further compounds our family’s agony after our son’s murder…I urge officials to speak the truth, share what they know, find the assailant, and protect the greater community.”

Alivea Goncalves, Kaylee’s older sister, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that her sibling was a senior. She had plans to move to Texas at the start of the new year and work a tech job there.

“Yes, we are all heartbroken,” Alivea wrote in a statement. “Yes, we are all grasping. But more strong than any of these feelings is anger. We are angry. You should be angry.”

Goncalves had been best friends with Mogen, a senior majoring in marketing, for years, Alivea said.

“Kaylee and Maddie should still be here with us,” said Kaylee’s father, Steve Goncalves, in a statement to The Daily Beast. “This monster that took away their lives, and the lives of Xana and Ethan needs to be punished and held responsible… Myself and my family will not rest until Kaylee, Maddie, Xana, and Ethan get the justice they deserve.”

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