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Police say ‘stay vigilant’ at Idaho graduation after stabbings

(NewsNation) — As the city reels from a horrific unsolved quadruple murder, Moscow police are telling people to stay vigilant in light of an “influx of people” arriving for the University of Idaho’s graduation ceremonies.

Law enforcement suggested traveling in groups and communicating with family and friends – which is something University of Idaho students have already been doing after the bodies of four of their peers were found in a rental home near campus on Nov. 13.

The four University of Idaho students killed were Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21. All four were close friends. The women were roommates, while Chapin and Kernodle were dating.

Goncalves was supposed to be among those graduating.

The victims died from stab wounds, and were likely asleep at the time, preliminary findings by a county coroner show.

The University of Idaho says the commencement ceremony will include an acknowledgment of the tragedy and a moment of silence.

During the winter graduation ceremonies at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. PST, university officials will be handing out degrees to 565 students.

“We’re going to have a lot of officers around. We’re going have a lot of state police around,” Chief James Fry said in a pre-recorded interview released by Moscow Police Saturday. “You’ll see us both at the commencement as well as just around town providing safety.”

GM from the Univ. of Idaho. Winter Commencement rehearsal underway for ceremony soon. It will include remembrance and moment of silence for the #Idaho4. @NewsNation

— Nancy Loo (@NancyLoo) December 10, 2022

So far, no suspect in the stabbings has been named, putting the city and campus on edge. But new leads are coming in fast.

“We are getting a lot of tips,” Robbie Johnson, Public Information Officer for the city of Moscow Police Department, previously told NewsNation.

The investigation has maintained the same amount of resources, police said Saturday:

Moscow Police Department

  • Six Detectives
  • Five Support Staff
  • Communications Team 

Federal Bureau of Investigation

  • 46 investigators in Moscow and also located throughout the U.S.
  • Two Behavior Analysis Unit investigators

 Idaho State Police

  • 13 investigators in Moscow
  • 15 uniformed troopers assisting with community patrols
  • ISP Forensics Services 

Recently, Moscow police issued an alert asking for help locating a white Hyundai Elantra that was seen near the scene of the slayings – its first public plea for help since they happened nearly a month ago.

The vehicle was last seen in the early morning hours of Nov.13. Its license plate is still unknown.

Also making things difficult is the fact that there have been over half a million Elantras sold throughout the U.S. between 2011 and 2013.

Meanwhile, classes were wrapping up at the university this past week, before finals. Still, there were few students to see, as some have chosen to take classes online.

Information can be submitted:
Tip Line: 208-883-7180
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