Murders of College Students in Idaho: A Summary and Timeline

The killing of four University of Idaho students in mid-November in an off-campus apartment building shocked the small community of Moscow, Idaho, where investigators were grappling with a case the city’s police chief would later describe as “very complicated.” .

No suspect was immediately named in the death of roommate Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; and Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kernodle’s friend Ethan Chapin, 20. No murder weapon, believed to be a large fixed-blade knife, was also found.

But the intense investigation into the unsolved murders sparked thousands of tips to the FBI.

Now, almost seven weeks later – with the community on edge and speculation as to who might be committing such acts of violence – Pennsylvania police on Friday announced the arrest of a criminal justice graduate student.

“This is not the end of this investigation,” Latah County Attorney Bill Thompson said at a news conference announcing the arrest. “In fact, this is a fresh start.”

From top left: Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle.

Here’s a timeline of the key moments in the case.

Nov 12

According to investigators, Kernodle and Chapin are spotted around 9 p.m. at a party at Chapin’s Sigma Chi fraternity, which is a short walk from the King Road apartment building where the roommates lived.

That night, Goncalves uploaded pictures to her Instagram account, including photos of the friends with the caption: “A happy girl surrounded by these people every day.”

Around 10 p.m., Goncalves and Mogen go to a sports bar in Moscow, the Corner Club.

Nov 13

At around 1:30 a.m., Goncalves and Mogen can be seen ordering from a nearby food truck, according to the truck’s live stream.

According to investigators, Kernodle and Chapin return to their three-story home on King Road around 1:45am, while Goncalves and Mogen drive home, arriving around 1:56am

Meanwhile, two other housemates who had gone out that night had gotten home before the others around 1am, Moscow police said.

READ :  Lakehead University is offering a new online course for tourism stakeholders

At 11:58 a.m., an emergency call was made on the cell phone of one of the other roommates, asking for help for an “unconscious person”. (Both roommates were unharmed.)

Police are alerting the public to the deaths in a press release, and while they say no one is in custody, they “do not believe there is an ongoing risk to the community based on information gathered during the preliminary investigation.”

Nov 16

With no suspect arrested, Moscow police have responded to earlier comments that there was no threat to the largely rural town of nearly 26,000.

“We don’t have a suspect at this time, and that person is still out there,” Moscow Police Chief James Fry said at a news conference. He adds that the more than 25 Idaho State Police and FBI investigators are assisting in the case.

People lay flowers at a memorial in front of a University of Idaho campus entrance sign (Ted S. Warren/AP file)

People lay flowers at a memorial in front of a University of Idaho campus entrance sign (Ted S. Warren/AP file)

Nov 17

Preliminary autopsy results show the four victims were likely attacked with a large knife and died from multiple stab wounds sometime after 2 a.m., says Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt.

She describes her wounds as “quite extensive.”

Nov 18

Police say the victims were most likely asleep when they were killed, and some of them had defensive wounds. There were also no signs of sexual assault.

Meanwhile, detectives are confiscating the contents of three dumpsters near the home to look for possible evidence and are contacting local businesses to determine if a knife has recently been purchased.

Nov 30

A vigil is being held at the University of Idaho in honor of the victims, with some family members attending.

“We’ll get our justice,” says Steven Goncalves, Kaylee’s father, adding that his daughter and Mogen had been best friends since sixth grade and learned they were in the same bed when they were killed.

READ :  Why Amazon's Rs 12.7 lakh offer for Kerala students at DU is special

“They went to high school together, then they started looking at colleges, they came here together. They end up living in the same apartment together,” Goncalves said. “And they ended up dying together.”

1 Dec

Moscow police have reconfirmed that the quadruple murder was part of a “targeted attack” after authorities appeared to claim the opposite.

“We remain convinced that this was indeed a targeted attack, but have not concluded whether the target was the home or its occupants,” a police spokesman said.

The department also continues to dispel online rumors and speculation and says it has acquitted certain people who interacted with Goncalves and Mogen the night they were killed. Police also say the two roommates who were home during the attack were asleep that night.

2 Dec

Housemates Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen are releasing letters saying they’re having trouble accepting why the lives of “four beautiful people” were taken so brutally.

December 5th

Detectives are focusing on Chapin and Kernodle’s activities on the night they were killed and are asking the public for information on the nearly five hours from the couple’s arrival at the Sigma Chi party to the King Road apartment building .

6 Dec

Police say they recognize how frustrating the lack of news can be for families and the public, but insist they don’t want to jeopardize the case.

“We’re at that point in the investigation where we’re still gathering information, we’re still gathering tips, we’re still gathering evidence, we’re still doing whatever we have to do,” Fry says in a video posted online.

The police rooster surrounds the home where police found four stabbed University of Idaho students (Angela Palermo/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The police rooster surrounds the home where police found four stabbed University of Idaho students (Angela Palermo/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

7 Dec

The police begin removing the victims’ personal belongings from the apartment building and returning them to the families.

READ :  Law schools receive US$120,000 worth of textbook donations

They also announce what appears to be an integral part of the investigation: They say they want to speak to all occupants of a white 2011-13 Hyundai Elantra with unknown license plates. They don’t say if they believe the driver is linked to the killer, but say that person may have “critical information” to share.

15th December

Kristi Goncalves, Kaylee’s mother, during an interview with NBC’s TODAY show, expressed frustration that she only found out about the police interest in the Hyundai Elentra after the rest of the public did – underscoring how the families of some Victims feel left in the dark. ”

21 Dec

Fry tells NBC News that his department is in daily contact with families and “we have asked for their patience” while the investigation continues. The police chief again insists the investigation is not a cold case and “our ultimate goal is to bring someone to justice for these families and for these victims.”

Dec 30

Police announce the arrest of a suspect: Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, a resident of Pullman, Washington, and a graduate student at Washington State University. He is arrested in northeastern Pennsylvania, about 2,500 miles from the Idaho campus, and charged with four counts of first-degree murder and burglary.

According to two law enforcement sources, DNA evidence played a key role in linking the murders to Kohberger.

At a news conference, Fry says he believes Kohberger is the only suspect.

“What I can tell you is that we have an individual in custody who committed these horrific crimes,” he says, “and I believe our community is safe.”

Dec 31

Public defender for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, where Kohberger is being held, says he intends to forgo his extradition hearing to face arraignment in Idaho.

“He should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise — and not tried in the court of public opinion,” public defense attorney Jason LaBar said in a statement, adding, “Mr. Kohberger is keen to be cleared of these allegations and looks forward to resolving these matters as soon as possible.”

This story originally appeared on

This article was originally published on