The parents of one of the University of Idaho massacre victims say the killer was ‘sloppy’ and left a ‘mess’ of evidence behind – but bungling cops, who are yet to identify a suspect or a motive, are blaming the Thanksgiving break for their lack of leads.
Kaylee Goncalves, 21, was one of the four students brutally knifed to death in the slaying. Her parents say police told them the crime scene ‘will take a lot of time to process’.
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.
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.’
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 any 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.
Initially, police said there was no danger to the public but have since backtracked and called it a ‘complex and terrible crime’ as they scramble for any new leads on the killer – adding it would take some time to resolve.
A 911 call from one of the surviving roommates was not made until nine hours after the slaying, with officers claiming that they managed to ‘sleep through’ the brutal killings and that other ‘friends’ were at the property at the time.
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 not clear why it has taken so long to narrow down the areas of interest.
Kaylee Goncalves (left) and her best friend and roommate Madison Mogen (right). The Goncalves said Maddie was also like a daughter to them and they will ‘never stop looking for who killed them’
Roommates Kaylee Goncalves, 21, (second left), Madison Mogen, 21, (on Kaylee’s shoulders), Ethan Chapin, 20, (second right) and Xana Kernodle, 20, (next to Ethan) were stabbed to death on Sunday November 13 between 3am and 4am
The house in Moscow, Idaho, where the four students were killed was surrounded by various law enforcement personnel, including federal authorities, on Sunday
Kristi Goncalves, Kaylee’s mother, say that police told them that examining the chaotic crime scene will take time
DailyMail.com previously revealed that a garbage truck filled with trash was allowed to collect a dumpster from the scene before it was 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 – referred to as an ‘edged weapon’ by Jim Fry, the town’s police chief – in trash cans around the area where the four students were found dead.
Police have not confirmed if they have DNA from the suspect but have set up a mobile unit at the scene of the bloody crimes to try to speed things up.
Officers are also seeking surveillance footage from two ‘areas of interest’ in Moscow as part of their hunt for the killer.
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.
However, authorities have yet to reveal why the window of time is so important, but confirmed that other friends of the students were present in the home at the time of a 911 call.
Moscow police were seen looking through the cordoned off bushes behind the home on King Road
Blood drips down the outside of the wall of the house the four students shared. Investigators describe it as the worst crime scene they have ever seen
On Sunday detectives were seen combing through woodlands surrounding the house in which the four students were fatally stabbed
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)
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.
Two roommates, Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen are not suspects and have been cooperating with the investigation, authorities confirmed.
Both surviving roommates have been ruled out as suspects by the police, with Kristi confirming that she believes her daughter was calling her ex-boyfriend Jack around the time of the murders.
However the family insists that he was not involved in any way, adding: ‘They’re wasting their time with Jack. Jack is just as distraught as we are. Jack is our family.’
Moscow Police Chief James Fry said on Sunday: ‘We believe they’re targeted because we take a totality of all the circumstances we’re looking at. Do we know any one person that was targeted?
‘We’re not able to say at this point in time due to our investigation, but we still believe that.’
Dozens of FBI agents are assigned to the case, as well as state police, to assist the Moscow Police Department – with no murder weapon being found.
Officials believe that the four students were stabbed while they slept, with two found on the second floor and the others on the third floor of the home.
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
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
Investigators positioned themselves at various places in the woods – as they desperately searched for clues near the murder scene
Detectives are also trawling through wooded areas behind the house of horrors as part of a probe into whether their murder spied on them before striking.
Photos captured at the scene on Sunday by Fox News show investigators scouring the woodlands outside the students’ home in the small college town of Moscow to decipher where the killer may have lurked before stabbing the four victims.
Investigators positioned themselves at various places in the woods – as they searched for clues near the murder scene.
Moscow police were also seen looking through a white Chevrolet sedan parked outside the house where the murders took place.
The search in the thicket beside the Moscow house coincided with the revelation that last month, just three miles from the scene, a couple’s dog was killed in the most brutal fashion.
Buddy, a mini Australian shepherd, was found skinned with fur left on only its legs and face.
Students have expressed concern about a lack of details from police, who initially said there was no danger to the public.
But just days later walked that back by acknowledging they couldn’t say there was no threat.
This is the sliding door that one of the girls’ fathers believe may have been used by the killer to gain access to the home in the early hours of Sunday morning. All four victims were stabbed in their beds
Another sliding door in the home opens into the master bedroom. It’s unclear where exactly each student was sleeping, but they were all in their beds
James Fry, chief of Moscow police, confirmed that they still had not identified a suspect in the killing, and confirmed there were two roommates in the house at the time of the murders
‘We know that people want answers – we want answers, too,’ Idaho State Police Col. Kedrick Wills said. ‘Please be patient as we work through this investigation. We owe this to these young kids. To these young adults. We owe it to them. And we’re absolutely dedicated to make sure that that happens.’
As of Sunday, Moscow Police Department Chief James Fry said that more than 640 tips had been received and investigated.
Cops have conducted 90 interviews into the massacre so far.
Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier said: ‘Some of the victims had defensive wounds and each victim was stabbed multiple times.’
Lanier confirmed that they have ruled out Mortensen and Funke in connection this crime, as well as a male who is seen on camera at the food truck that Goncalves and Mogen stopped at before going home.
He added: ‘Any online reports stating that the victims had been tied and gagged are not accurate’, after also confirming that there appeared to be no signs of sexual assault.
Kaylee’s sister Alivea (left) said ‘a lot of people’ had access to the house and the code to the front door because the girls were so sociable
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
Police have said evidence leads them to believe the students were targeted, though they haven’t given details and declined to do so again on Sunday.
Investigators say nothing appears 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 police have still not arrested any suspects.
University President Scott Green said instructors have been told to prepare for a possible hybrid teaching system that includes in-person and remote learning for students not comfortable returning to the campus after the fall recess, which includes Thanksgiving, ends after this week.
Green said: ‘While we certainly hope there’s a swift closure with the arrest of whoever is responsible for this crime, we must also be prepared for all the possibilities, including a lengthy investigation.’
Police appealed for assistance in tracking down the killer or killers
Kaylee Goncalvez, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, are believed to have been calling a ‘young man’ named ‘jack’ just minutes before they were killed in a brutal stabbing alongside Ethan Chapin, 20, and Xana Kernodle, 20
Police previously seized the contents of three dumpsters to locate possible evidence.
But on Sunday, Moscow Police Capt. Roger Lanier said ‘nothing of note was discovered.’
Detectives have also asked local businesses if they recently sold a fixed-blade knife.
Dozens of additional law enforcement officers have arrived in Moscow to help with the investigation or with patrols, officials said.
The Moscow Police Department said four detectives, five support staff and 24 patrol officers are working on the case.
Alongside the police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has 22 investigators helping in Moscow, and 20 more agents assisting from outside the area.
Idaho State Police has supplied 20 investigators, 15 troopers for patrols, and its mobile crime scene team.
EXCLUSIVE: Woman who lives near scene of Idaho murders says her adorable mini Australian Shepherd was FILLETED and skinned weeks before quadruple-slaying, sparking fears the same creep is behind both attacks
Jim and Pam Colbert hold the collar of their dog Buddy who was found skinned near their home a month ago in Moscow, Idaho
An elderly couple’s Mini Australian shepherd was found filleted and skinned just three miles away from where four students were brutally murdered weeks later, sparking fears the same warped creep may be behind both attacks.
Pam and Jim Colbert’s dog Buddy was killed and brutalized after being let out of the home she shares with her husband Jim in Moscow, Idaho, on October 21.
Pam, 78, says her 12-year-old dog who’d been rescued from a puppy mill, only had fur left on his legs and face.
She has been left badly shaken by the attack on her animal, which was first discovered by the Colberts’ neighbor Barbara Sayler.
Pam and others now fear the warped creep who disemboweled her pet may also be behind the slayings of students Ethan Chapin, 20; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Madison Mogen, 21, a mile away on November 13. Cops haven’t linked the dog slaughter to the murders, and are investigating both incidents separately.
Recalling the horrific discovery, Pam told DailyMail.com: ‘We called the Sheriff’s Department and the supervisor said that Buddy had been skinned.
‘It was like a deer someone had hunted,’ Pam Colbert said. They cut him around the neck and just skinned him. His little legs had fur and his little face had fur, but the rest of him was just skinned.
‘The other side of him was as though they had filleted him like they were about to eat him. It was terrible. Unbelievable.
‘They cut him like you filet a fish. We found his collar, but we didn’t find the pelt.’
A Latah County Sheriff’s Deputy sent to take photos for a report confirmed Buddy’s killer was human,
Commenting on her pet’s killing, and the quadruple murder, Pam added: ‘Everybody is very nervous and scared. This is something awful and evil.’ She and Jim, 73, have lived in their home for 39 years – and have now taken to locking their doors for the first time.
The Colberts says the students’ deaths and the skinning of their dog have shocked the entire community leaving everybody feeling nervous
The area near Pam and Jim Colbert’s home where Buddy was found skinned
The horrible incident happened only a few miles from where four University of Idaho students were slain in their beds while they slept
Jim Colbert, 73, is pictured sitting on his armchair with his loving ‘Aussie’ Buddy in his arms
Explaining the sequence of events ‘We let Buddy out, and somebody must have been waiting out there. Bud never leaves the yard, but this person grabbed Buddy.
‘We always leave our doors open, and he didn’t come back in. Later that night, Jim went out calling him and couldn’t find him. Friends came up and started looking for him and eventually found him.’
Pam and Jim, 73, live in a home set on 10 acres of land in the quiet rural community and managed to get a group of friends together to come and help search for their pet, a Mini Australian Shepherd dog.
They adopted the dog five years ago. Disturbingly, Jim found a mutilated rabbit with its scalp and ears sheared off close to his home shortly before Buddy’s death.
He explained: ‘It had the head sliced right open, and you could see the brain.’
Although one police deputy initially believed it to be the work of an animal, another officer with a local force quickly determined that something far more sinister was at work.
An investigation continues.
‘We’re not that many people out here. Somebody had to be waiting. We don’t have any enemies. It really was horrible. And now with the students killed, it all got brought back up,’ Pam explained.
The killing of little Buddy occurred only weeks before the murders of four students in the home they shared, just a mile down the road from where the dog’s death occurred.
‘Our next door neighbor, Clint, put it online after I called him to tell him what happened to Buddy. His dog went crazy that night and tore apart his bed which makes us think Buddy must have made a noise.
‘We always left our doors open – not any more. None of it makes any sense,’ she explained.
‘One Deputy came out and he said that they are taking it very seriously and that this kind of stuff just doesn’t happen.’
Colbert says the students and the skinning have shocked the entire community leaving everybody feeling nervous.
Local sleuths on Facebook are attempting to connect the killings to the story of a man who found his neighbors’ dog skinned alive a mile away from where they were last seen
Clint Hughes posted that his neighbors’ ‘sweet little dog was skinned like a deer. No animal did this. Our dog is bigger and was so anxious about the same time that he tore his bed up into a thousand pieces. Also, our cat has been missing for the last couple of days.’
It was also noted how the four students were killed with a knife – believed to have been a Rambo blade – which may also have been used in skinning the dog, although no official link to the murders has been made by those in law enforcement.
Many murderers are known to have begun their criminal careers by abusing animals, before moving on to human targets.