Idaho’s bungling Moscow Police Department have found themselves under increasing pressure to produce answers into the brutal slayings of four students as they slept – including why 911 was only called nine hours later.
Officials who raced to the six-bedroom property initially claimed that there was no wider threat to the public – a statement they retracted three days after the incident and have failed to make a single arrest.
Kaylee Goncalves, 21, was one of the four students brutally knifed to death. Her parents say police told them the crime scene ‘will take a lot of time to process’ and the killer was ‘sloppy’.
Kaylee’s roommates, Madison Mogen, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, were also stabbed to death on November 13. Xana’s freshman boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20, was also killed.
Cops were quick to claim the scene of the ‘complex and terrible crime’ was the ‘most horrific’ they had ever seen, with blood oozing out of the walls, despite strangely first saying they believed one of the victims had ‘passed out’.
As the investigation moves into its second week, questions continue to mount about the unsolved quadruple murders, which appears to have cops stumped as they scramble for more information.
Last week, Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said the Thanksgiving break had hampered the investigation because many potential witnesses are students who have already left the small college town.
Moscow Police Department Chief James Fry said that more than 640 tips had been received and investigated in a statement on Sunday.
Now, police are asking residents and local businesses to scour surveillance footage taken between 3am and 6am the night the four friends were murdered. It is unclear why it has taken so long to narrow down the areas of interest.
DailyMail.com has examined the eight burning questions cops need to answer – as the quadruple killer remains on the streets – these include:
- Why did cops say there was no threat to the wider community?
- How did ‘several friends’ inside the house not see or hear anything?
- Why did it take nine hours after the murders for a 911 call?
- How did the two surviving roommates not wake up?
- Why did Moscow Police initially believe they were called because someone had ‘passed out’?
- Why did it take over a week to appeal for surveillance footage?
- How did authorities fail to search a dumpster outside the home?
- At least four people have been ruled out as the potential killer – so why no arrests or suspects?
Dylan Mortensen (left) and Bethany Funke (middle) lived in a modest Moscow rental house with fellow University of Idaho students Xana Kernodle (second from left) Kaylee Goncalves (second from right) and Madison Mogen (right) who were all found dead
Idaho’s bungling Moscow Police Department have found themselves under increasing pressure to produce answers into the brutal slayings of four students as they slept – including why 911 was only called nine hours later
Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle. Kernodle lived at the house with the other two women who were killed, plus two more roommates. Chapin, Kernodle’s boyfriend, was staying at her home at the time of the ‘complex and terrible crime’
James Fry, chief of Moscow police, confirmed that they still had not identified a suspect in the killing and admitted that they could not rule out a threat to the community
Why did cops say there was no threat to the wider community?
In the days following the slayings, Moscow Police Department downplayed the community’s fears that a killer was on the loose.
Residents had not seen a murder in the area in more than seven years, with students and residents both saying that they felt safe walking around the area late at night.
On the day of the attack, the department said that there was not an ‘ongoing community risk’ and added two days later that there was ‘no imminent threat to the community at large.’
However just three days after the killings Chief of Police James Fry admitted that they could not reassure residents about the killer on the loose.
Officers launched a manhunt – but have still not arrested anyone nine days later – with Fry telling a conference: ‘we cannot say that there is no threat to the community’.
Mayor of Moscow, Art Bettge, claimed the day after the killings that the case was a ‘crime of passion’ or a ‘burglary gone wrong’ but backtracked just a day later saying he was ‘unsure’.
Police have consistently claimed that the attack appeared to have been targeted – but have refused to say why.
Steve and Kristi Gonclaves told Fox News: ‘This wasn’t like a pinpoint crime. This person was sloppy.’ Steve added that the killer ‘made a mess there, and they’re going to have to go through that point by point.’
Police appealed for assistance in tracking down the killer or killers and have now issued a large area of interest to them
On the day of the attack, the department said that there was not an ‘ongoing community risk’ and added two days later that there was ‘no imminent threat to the community at large’
How did ‘several friends’ inside the house not see or hear anything?
Authorities confirmed on Sunday that there were ‘several friends’ inside the property when the 911 call was made.
The chief stated that the 911 call, placed at 11.58 am, was made from the phone ‘of one of the surviving roommates’ but did not share who that was.
Police only confirmed that several other people other than the ones who had lived at the property had been present in the hours after the attacks in a news conference on Sunday.
It is unclear exactly how many were present and how much of the gruesome scene they witnessed before calling the police nine hours after the incident is thought to have taken place.
Officers did not confirm exactly when the friends arrived at the property, but it is thought they were not present during the killings.
Investigators said nothing appeared to have been stolen from the victims or the home, and there was no sign of forced entry, and first responders found a door open when they arrived.
Family members of the victims say that ‘a lot of people’ had the code to the property before their deaths, and it was well-known as a ‘party house’.
Authorities confirmed on Sunday that there were ‘several friends’ inside the property when the 911 call was made, who have been assisting police with their inquiries
Kaylee and her best friend Madison Mogen were both killed in the attack, with their friends only raising the alarm nine hours after their deaths
It is unclear exactly how many were present and how much of the gruesome scene they witnessed before calling the police nine hours after the incident is thought to have taken place
Why did it take nine hours after the murders for a 911 call?
Another question which has raised concerns is how long it took authorities to be called to the property where the four students died.
Police received a call at noon on Sunday, and concluded that the four had been stabbed to death up to nine hours before, with the killing occurring between 3am to 4am that morning and no signs of forced entry.
Veteran Moscow police have described the scene as among the most gruesome and harrowing they have ever seen, with the victims left to bleed to death inside the house.
Officials arrived and discovered the additional victims and confirmed that anyone in the house when the 911 call was placed was not involved with the crime.
Kaylee Goncalvez, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, were killed in the ‘targeted’ attack, though police are yet to give more details as to why they were attacked
Chapin and Kernodle appeared to be in a relationship before their untimely death, as police continue to probe who could be behind the killings
How did the two surviving roommates not wake up?
The Chief of police at Moscow Police Department himself admitted that investigators did not understand how the two surviving roommates – Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen – appeared to sleep through the attack.
James Fry said on Sunday: ‘I don’t even know that information at this point in time. That’s why we’re continuing to investigate.’
He confirmed that both Funke and Mortensen had been assisting authorities with their inquiries and had been ruled out as suspects.
But a coroner conducting the autopsies on the four victims rules that they had tried to fight back – with cops also refusing to confirm if they had the killer’s DNA.
However questions have been raised as to how both Funke and Mortensen were able to sleep through such a bloody murder – with neighbors also reporting that they heard nothing throughout the night.
Neither of the two surviving roommates were attacked, with investigators saying the victims were found on the second and third floors.
Both girls had been out of town separately on Saturday night and returned home by around 1am – before the other four victims came home from a night out.
Police have confirmed that one of the surviving roommates made the 911 call alerting police but would not confirm which one.
Bethany Funke (right) and Dylan Mortensen (left) were the two roommates who survived – and authorities say they slept through the brutal slayings
Police in Idaho said they responded to a call of an ‘unconscious person’ at the home just before noon on Sunday – despite roommates calling friends over earlier
Why did Moscow Police initially believe they were called because someone had ‘passed out’?
Despite authorities describing the scene as the most ‘horrific’ they had seen and blood seeping through the walls, Funke and Mortensen claim they called some of their friends to the property because they thought someone had ‘passed out’.
They said that one of the stabbing victims on the second floor had ‘passed out and was not waking up’, and only called the police at around noon – nine hours after the incident is thought to have taken place.
Police sources told DailyMail.com that the scene inside the home is ‘the worst they’ve ever seen’ with the victims left to bleed out following the brutal early morning attack.
It is unclear why, if the scene was so bloody, friends of the dead thought that they were unconscious.
Officials arrived and discovered the additional victims, and confirmed that anyone in the house when the 911 call was placed was not involved with the crime.
Each of the four victims was stabbed multiple times with a large knife, with Cathy Mabbutt, the Latah County coroner saying it was ‘hard to think’ that someone who would commit such a crime is ‘still at large’.
Police sources told DailyMail.com that the scene inside the home is ‘the worst they’ve ever seen’ with the victims left to bleed out following the brutal early morning attack
Blood drips down the outside of the wall of the house the four students shared. Investigators said that one of the stabbing victims on the second floor had ‘passed out and was not waking up’
Why did it take over a week to appeal for surveillance footage?
Ethan Chapin was one of a set of triplets and was one of the four murdered in the slaying
The initial lack of information about the cause of the deaths prompted many students to leave campus early, days before the Thanksgiving break was scheduled to begin.
Police also failing to make an arrest has been credited for students leaving the area, with Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said the Thanksgiving break had hampered the investigation.
Maddie and Kaylee were caught on surveillance footage ordering from a food truck at around 1.53am – with police initially saying they believed all four students were back at the house by 1:45am.
On Sunday authorities finally confirmed an area of interest to the public, and asked for their help in coming forward with footage or stills.
They are urging members of the public to come forward with any tips or footage in parts of the city between 3am and 6am on November 13.
Anyone with footage or stills covering West Taylor Ave, West Palouse River Drive, Highway 95 south to the 2700 block of Highway 95 S and the Arboretum and Botanical Garden are asked to contact cops.
It is unclear why they did not appeal for information sooner, and over the weekend were seen scouring a wooded area close to the property.
The last known movements of at least two of the victims: The girls visited the truck at 1.43am-1.53am. It’s unclear if they went straight home, but police say they were murdered shortly afterwards sometime between 3am and 4am
The four students were killed in the early hours of Sunday November 13. A week after their discovery, police have still not found a murder weapon or any compelling leads
How did authorities fail to search a dumpster outside the home?
Police were seen collecting the contents of trash cans close to the slightly run-down fray-paneled home as part of the search for the ‘edged weapon’ they believe was used in the killings.
The trash was taken to a local garbage depot where hazmat-suited cops were seen sifting through garbage bags in a screened-off shed.
However, cops allowed a garbage truck filled with trash to collect a dumpster from the house where the four University of Idaho students were knifed to death – before it had been searched.
The error made the search for the knife used in the gruesome attack that much more difficult.
Police have been searching for the knife in trash cans around the area where the four students were found dead on Sunday morning.
Exclusive DailyMail.com photos show cops in a desperate conversation with garbage men from Inland North Waste – which eventually resulted in hazmat-suited officers having to search the full contents of the truck.
The Tuesday morning incident also saw separate trash trucks brought in to collect the contents of another two trash containers near the house before the vehicles drove away in convoy with three cop cars.
DailyMail.com photographed the trucks arriving at the waste depot 10 minutes later, and police were seen sifting through the trash bags in search of the murder weapon.
Police investigating the murders were seen in a desperate conversation with garbage men who collected trash from the home
Moscow, Idaho, police allowed a trash can that was outside the murder scene to be collected before searching it, causing the contents to be mixed up with the neighbors’ trash
The mix-up with the trash cans is one in a series of missteps by police investigating the case
At least four people have been ruled out as the potential killer – so why no arrests?
Murder victim Kaylee Goncalves, 21, (right) and her ex-boyfriend Jack DuCoeur, 26, (left). Kaylee and her friend Maddie called Jack at least seven times in the hours before they were killed
Kaylee Goncalves made seven unanswered phone calls to her ex-boyfriend in the early hours of Sunday morning, with police confirming that Madison Mogen had made calls to the same number.
The first call to Jack DuCoeur was made at 2:26am, with six more made over the next 25 minutes – with the final one at 2:52am.
Gonvalves’ parents and family say that they are ‘100 percent’ behind Jack as they ‘know he absolutely had nothing to do’ with the killings.
Chief Fry confirmed that he did not believe that DuCoeur had anything to do with the gristly mass murder.
He also ruled out a man who was seen speaking to Kaylee and Maddie at a food truck, which is where they were caught on surveillance footage for the last time alive.
Their two roommates, friends who called by the roommates and the man who gave Kaylee and Maddie a ride home have also been ruled out as suspects.
Authorities have not been able to rule out the possibility that multiple perpetrators are responsible for the crime.
Investigators have been contacting local businesses to see if someone had recently purchased a fixed-blade knife from them.
Chief Fry added: ‘I can’t say if the person’s here; I can’t say what community the person’s in.’
The girls arrived at the food truck with this young man, shown in a brown jacket and hoodie. They seem to have walked over from the other side of Main Street. Police have ruled him out of their enquiries
The unidentified young man turned his backwards cap around and placed his hood up while he waited with the girls for their food. He didn’t speak to them but was waiting for them