Agents at the US-Canada border are keeping watch for a vehicle seen at the scene of the Idaho roommate massacre last month, which saw four college students brutally stabbed to death by a still-unknown assailant.
Customs and Border Protection made the announcement Friday, telling agents stationed along points of entry between the countries to be wary of a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elentra with an unknown license plate.
The announcement came shortly after cops in the town of Moscow said they were searching for the four-seat sedan, which was spotted in the immediate area of the home where the students – all enrolled in the University of Idaho – were killed.
Still, without any leads as to who carried out the slayings, the department proceeded to ask the public for help locating the vehicle – failing to make headway themselves even after receiving thousands of tips about the November 13 murders.
Cops have since instructed students in the sleepy border town to stay in groups and ‘vigilant’ as families gather for fall graduation – while conceding that, ‘at this time,’ they have yet to identify a suspect or glean a motive. Finally seeking outside help almost a month later, the department has been criticized for their so-far fruitless search.
Customs and Border Protection made the announcement Friday, telling agents to be wary of a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elentra with unknown plates, sharing these stock images. They were asked for help by cops in Moscow, the sleepy border town where the murders transpired
“Investigators believe the occupant(s) of this vehicle may have critical information to share regarding this case,” police said in a press release Wednesday regarding the November deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Maddie Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and 20-year-old Ethan Chapin
‘Investigators believe the occupant(s) of this vehicle may have critical information to share regarding this case,’ police said in a press release of the car, and its relation to the deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Maddie Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and 20-year-old Ethan Chapin.
Police added that the owner or occupants of the vehicle ‘may have critical information’ regarding the case, which has already cost the state a reported $1million in funds.
Authorities, however, would not elaborate on why they believed the vehicle was involved in the incident and added that they were at a loss as to the car’s license plate.
On Saturday morning – ahead of the local university’s planned fall commencement -officials warned that the ‘influx of people coming in from out of town’ could hamper their already unsuccessful search, and that locals should therefore keep their eyes peeled for any suspicious activity.
The department said that in addition to citizens aiding local officers’ efforts, ‘Idaho State Police will provide coverage on campus and in the Moscow area.’
The force instructed the more than 25,000 residents it is tasked with protecting: ‘As always, we want to remind the public to stay vigilant, travel in groups, and communicate with family and friends as you travel.’
Days earlier, officers from the 36-man department were seen at the late students’ home on King Road, removing their personal effects and various other items – with the only yield produced being the nondescript white car.
The force has continued to ask locals for help standing up that avenue of the investigation, despite not detailing how they came to conclude the vehicle’s supposed importance.
The car was see ‘in the vicinity’ of King Street in the early morning hours of November 13, while the killings were carried out shortly before, sometime between 2 and 3 am, cops have said
The Moscow Police Department – and its chief James Fry – have seemingly failed to make any notable progress in the case, leaving them prime for widespread criticism nearly a month into in the highly publicized case, which has captivated arm-chair sleuths across the country
The car was seen ‘in the vicinity’ of King Street in the early morning hours of November 13, while the killings were carried out shortly before, sometime between 2 and 3 am local time, cops said.
Locals have been instructed to contact the force’s tip line with any relevant information, or its resident email address.
That assertion was offered as the department’s investigation into the November 13 murders neared its fourth week, surpassing a critical stage that saw lawmen start to receive forensic results obtained from the house where the murders occurred.
That said, The Moscow Police Department – and its chief James Fry – have seemingly failed to make any notable progress in the case, leaving them prime for widespread criticism nearly a month into the highly publicized case, which has captivated arm-chair sleuths across the country.
On Saturday morning – ahead of the local universities planned fall commencement -officials warned that the ‘influx of people coming in from out of town’ could hamper their already unsuccessful search, and that locals should keep their eyes peeled for any suspicious activity
Despite the pressure that comes with a case making national headlines – and as hundreds of relatives descend on the town this week – the small-town force has yet to discern any suspects nor even a murder weapon, despite assertions that the force is close to making a breakthrough
Despite the pressure that comes with a case making national headlines – and as hundreds of relatives descend on the town this week – the small-town force has yet to discern any suspects nor even a murder weapon, despite the chief’s repeated assertions that the force is close to making a breakthrough.
‘We have a job to do, and we’re going to do it to the best of our ability. We owe this to the families, we owe this to the victims, we owe this to our community. We’re going to continue on,’ said Fry.
‘We’re at that point in the investigation where we’re still gathering information, we’re still gathering tips, we’re still gathering evidence,’ Fry said in an earlier video statement released by the department.
Police in the Idaho college town where four university students were slain in their off-campus home have begun the grim task of removing the victim’s personal belongings
Moscow Police Chief Fry driving a U-Haul filled with the personal effects Wednesday
Members of the Moscow Police Department and Idaho State Police on Wednesday collect and remove the personal effects and property from the residence of the quadruple murder
Among the items removed from the home were victim Madison Mogen’s favorite pink cowboy boots, which had sat undisturbed in a window since the November 13 murders
However, the manpower devoted to retrieval of the objects from the murder house, the chief said, had little to do with the department’s alleged work to solve the case, and served little more than an offering of respite to mourning families.
‘There… comes a point in time where the family needs to have those belongings back, the ones that we can get them back,’ Fry said of the day spent retrieving the items, after the house was already analyzed weeks ago by forensic specialists.
‘They’ve asked for some of those things back, so we’re ready to take care of that for them.’
He added: ‘I’m a dad, so I understand the meaning behind some of those things,’ amid withering criticism from the victims’ mourning families over perceived missteps and delays in the investigation.
Kaylee and Madison had spent the evening visiting a sports bar and food truck, while Xana and Ethan has visited Ethan’s fraternity house just a short walk away from Xana’s home
The Moscow Police Department, a tiny 36-member force that is leading the complex investigation, said in a statement that personal items from the home will be transported to a secure storage location, where family members can view and retrieve them.
‘The house remains an active crime scene, and progress continues to be made in the investigation,’ the department insisted.
‘Moscow Police and investigative partners continue to work with the victim’s families on the investigation and ongoing developments,’ the statement added.
In a statement earlier in the week, the department attempted to explain its silence concerning its progress with the case, asserting that ‘only vetted information that does not hinder the investigation will be released to the public.’
‘There is speculation, without factual backing, stoking community fears and spreading false information,’ officers said.
In all, the department has said it has received 2,645 email tips and more than 2,770 calls to the tip hotline, as well as 1,084 digital media submissions to the FBI.
The bureau, which is assisting state and town police in the investigation, last week created a website where people can upload security camera footage or other digital media to further aid the force with their supposed search.
Investigators, meanwhile, claim they are poring over 113 pieces of physical evidence and about 4,000 crime scene photographs, but have still failed to air any leads or make any arrests.
Moscow Police Chief Fry is seen. Police in Idaho say they still have no viable suspects in the massacre of four University of Idaho students in their home last month
Investigators have also yet to identify a weapon used in the killings, the department wrote in a news release Wednesday, days after hundreds of students mourned together inside the University of Idaho’s stadium in remembrance of the four victims, and after a heartfelt ceremony that saw the victims’ two surviving roommates – who were home but spared during the massacre – offer heartfelt tributes to those slain.
The pair, 19-year-olds Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke, had been sleeping on the first floor of the home when the late-night attack transpired, and were seemingly spared – while the four victims, who had been on the second and third floors, were stabbed to death.
Both offered touching tributes to their friends – with Funke tearfully remarking on how she wished she could give her roommates ‘one last hug’ and tell them how much she ‘loved them’ one last time.
Autopsies determined the four students were stabbed to death with a fixed-blade knife, with investigators subsequently checking with local stores to see if any had sold military-style knives recently.
All four victims were friends and members of the university’s Greek system.
Xana Kernodle, 20, was a junior studying marketing. She was from Post Falls, Idaho, and joined the Pi Beta Phi sorority on campus. She lived at the rental home with the other two women who were stabbed, and she was dating Ethan Chapin, who was visiting the night of the killings.
Police have released statements revealing the movements of the victims on the night of the killing, in a plea for any information from the public.
Goncalves and Mogen went to a local bar, stopped at a food truck and then caught a ride home with a private party around 1.56am, according to a police timeline of the evening.
Chapin and Kernodle were at the Sigma Chi house – just a short walk away – and returned to Kernodle’s house around 1.45am, police said.
Two other roommates who live in the home were also out that evening, but returned home by 1am, police said. They didn’t wake up until later that morning.
After they woke 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.
At 11.58am, someone inside the home called 911, using a roommate’s cell phone. Multiple people talked with the dispatcher before police arrived.
Police found two of the victims on the second floor of the three-story home, and two on the third floor. A dog was also at the home, unharmed.
Autopsies showed the four were all likely asleep when they were attacked, some had defensive wounds and each was stabbed multiple times. There was no sign of sexual assault, police said.
Before Steve Goncalves said Wednesday that his daughter Kaylee died in the same bed as Maddie, this is where it was believed the college students had died – however it is still not know which bedroom on the top floor they were in
Kaylee and Madison were found on the top floor of the Moscow, Idaho home. College lovers Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were found in a second-floor bedroom while survivors Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke were sleeping on the first floor
On Wednesday night, detectives revealed they were not sure if the slain University of Idaho students were targeted by the killer, contradicting Chief James Fry who previously insisted they were.
‘We believe they’re targeted because we take a totality of all the circumstances we’re looking at,’ Fry had told reporters on November 20, a week after the murders. The statement was recently echoed by Latah County prosecutor Bill Thompson.
But the department has since filed a correction, stating: ‘Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but continue to investigate.’
Nearly three weeks after the grizzly murders, few answers have come out despite the father of one of the victims stating that the killer was ‘sloppy’ and left a ‘mess’ of evidence behind.
Anyone with information about the murders is urged to contact the Moscow Police tip line at 208-883-7180.