Roommates of slain University of Idaho students ‘key’ to probe: officials

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Two roommates inside the home when four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death may be “key” to solving the horrific quadruple murder, a police spokesman said.

The two surviving women — Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen, both students at the university and friends of the victims — have been “very cooperative” with detectives, Idaho State Police rep Aaron Snell told ABC News on Thursday.

“Potentially they are witnesses, potentially they are victims,” Snell told the outlet, adding the pair haven’t been ruled “in or out as suspects.’

Authorities were called to an off-campus home on King Road in the city of Moscow Sunday afternoon and found four students slaughtered in a bloody scene some responders called the “worst they’ve ever seen.”

Authorities haven’t disclosed who made the initial call to police, but they revealed two roommates were in the house at the time of the killings — suspected to have taken place at around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. Sunday.

Roommates of the four slain University of Idaho students may be witnesses or victims, a police rep said.
Roommates of the four slain University of Idaho students may be witnesses or victims, a police rep said.
James Keivom

Questions have been raised about why there was such a long time lag between when the murders took place and when they alarm was raised to police, close to midday on Sunday.

Cops initially said the knife rampage was a targeted attack, but appear to have backtracked their initial statements as the killer or killers remain on the loose.

“We cannot say there is no threat to the community and as we have stated, please stay vigilant, report any suspicious activity and be aware of your surroundings at all times,” Moscow Police Chief James Fry said at a news conference earlier this week.

Victims Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were stabbed multiple times with a “large knife,” according to authorities.

Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, two of the four victims of the brutal stabbing in Moscow, Idaho.
Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, two of the four victims of the brutal stabbing in Moscow, Idaho.
Instagram / @autumngoncalves

Snell confirmed to ABC cops were visiting local hardware stores asking about recent sales of “fixed blade” knives. The state police rep said he wished for a fast resolution to the “very complex” case.

“It’s very frustrating … we would have loved to have solved this [immediately],” he said. He noted the roommates may be “key to this whole thing.”

The victims may have been asleep when they were attacked, Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said. The bodies were found in beds, the coroner revealed on Thursday.

Victims Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were dating.
Victims Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were dating.
Xena Kernodle/Instagram

“It was a pretty large knife so it’s really hard to call them puncture wounds … it has to be somebody that’s pretty angry in order to stab four people to death,” Mabbutt said on NewsNation’s “Banfield.”

The slayings have left the community reeling, with some Idaho students fleeing the area ahead of Thanksgiving break. Investigators are continuing to try to piece together the four victims’ final hours overnight Saturday and early Sunday.

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