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Idaho Murders Update: Roommates Break Silence, Victim's Mom Shares Theory

Newsweek 12/4/2022 Khaleda Rahman
The University of Idaho community mourns the loss of four students through a spontaneous memorial at the entrance to the campus. © University of Idaho 2022 The University of Idaho community mourns the loss of four students through a spontaneous memorial at the entrance to the campus.

Two roommates who survived the fatal stabbings of four University of Idaho students last month have broken their silence, while one of the victims' mothers has shared a theory about the identity of the killer.

The slayings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, have stunned the small town of Moscow, Idaho, after they were found dead in an off-campus rental house on November 13. Three weeks later, the Moscow Police Department has not yet named a suspect or made any arrests, the department said in a news release on Saturday.

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Letters from Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen, who were sleeping on the first floor when the murders occurred, were read aloud during a memorial service on Friday, Fox News reported.

Funke's letter said Mogen had told her that "everything happens for a reason, but I'm having a really hard time trying to understand the reason for this."

In her letter, Funke added that she wished she could give her slain roommates "one last hug" and let them know much she loved them.

Meanwhile, Mortensen's letter described Kernodle and Chapin, who dating each other at the time, as "two best friends" with an "unstoppable, loving relationship."

It added: "They'd both look at each other with so much love. Everyone knew they were the perfect duo."

Mortensen described Kernodle as "the life of the party," but also "strong, intelligent, hardworking" while Chapin was described as an older brother who was loving and caring. She went on to describe Goncalves and Mogen as an "inseparable duo" and "like second moms to me."

"They changed the way I look at life and how to enjoy life to the fullest," she wrote.

Victim's Mother Provides Theory About Killer

Meanwhile, Kernodle's mother has suggested that her daughter's killer may be someone she knew.

"I think they knew them," Kernodle's mother, Cara Denise Northington told NewsNation. "I think they may have even been friends with them. I think it had to have been somebody close to them to have been able to get away with it like this."

Northington added that Kernodle's father had visited the house to fix a lock a week before the murders, although she was not sure if the lock that was fixed was on the home's front door or on Kernodle's bedroom door.

It is currently not known whether the killer or killers knew the victims.

Were the Victims Targeted?

In recent days, police and the local prosecutor's office have provided confusing, and at times contradictory, statements about whether the victims were "targeted."

"We remain consistent in our belief that this was indeed a targeted attack but have not concluded if the target was the residence or its occupants," Moscow Police spokeswoman Rachael Doniger told Newsweek on Thursday.

According to investigators, Goncalves and Mogen had gone to a local bar, stopped at a food truck and then caught a ride home with a private party at around 1:56 a.m. on November 13. Meanwhile, Chapin and Kernodle were seen at the Sigma Chi house, just a short walk from the rental house, and made it home around 1:45 a.m.

Police said the two surviving roommates were also out that evening, but returned home by 1 a.m. and did not wake up until later that morning. After waking up, they called friends to come to the house because they believed one of the victims found on the second floor had passed out and wasn't waking up.

One of their cell phones was used to make a 911 call requesting aid at 11:58 a.m.

Officers arrived to find two of the victims on the second floor and the other two on the third floor. Police have said the roommates and people who were in the residence when the 911 call was made are not believed to be implicated in the crime.

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