Police: ‘We have shared every piece of information that we can’ about student homicides

(UPDATED, 11:50 a.m., with announcement of a Wednesday afternoon news conference.)

Moscow police released no new information Tuesday night about the deaths of four University of Idaho students, found Sunday in an off-campus house.

The latest police statement instead seemed to be an attempt to allay public fears and respond to widespread criticisms about the homicide investigation.

Police again said that they believe the attacks were isolated — an assertion they have made, but never explained, throughout the course of the investigation. “We determined early in the investigation that we do not believe there is an ongoing threat for community members. Evidence indicates that this was a targeted attack.”

The statement also addressed criticisms about the police’s handling of the case — and the limited information released since Sunday. “At this time, we have shared every piece of information that we can without compromising the ongoing investigation.”

But on Wednesday morning, the police department said it would hold a news conference at 3:30 p.m. PST.

Police have said little about the deaths of the students: Ethan Chapin, 20, a freshman from Mount Vernon, Wash.; Kaylee Goncalves, 21, a senior from Rathdrum; Xana Kernodle, 20, a junior from Post Falls; and Madison Mogen, 21, a senior from Coeur d’Alene.

On Tuesday, police said the four students were stabbed with “an edged weapon such as a knife.” But police have said nothing about a possible motive in the deaths. And while police say the community is not under an ongoing threat, they have no suspect in custody.

“Until this case is completely resolved, we ask the community to continue to be vigilant, alert, report suspicious activity and help us to be the eyes and ears in our community,” police said Tuesday night.

Classes resumed Tuesday on the U of I campus. But some students have left the campus — which will close next week for Thanksgiving break — and it’s unclear how many classes have been canceled.

On Twitter Tuesday, U of I assistant professor Zachary Turpin said his American literature classes are on hold indefinitely.

“Until police release more info or confirm a suspect, I can’t in good conscience hold class,” Turpin wrote.

In Hailey, parent David Hanks discussed his son’s decision to come home. Like the four victims, Hanks’ son is part of the U of I’s Greek community.

“The homicides there have been very upsetting and we felt it best to have him home while the authorities figure this out,” Hanks tweeted. “This hits way 2 close to home and his friend circle.”

Meanwhile, student Nicole June told the Associated Press she had little apprehension about staying on campus. “I feel pretty safe. I believe the police can do their job.”

But with some students leaving the campus — evidently, in significant numbers — the university canceled a candlelight vigil honoring the victims, originally planned for this week. That vigil will now be held after Thanksgiving.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates Wednesday afternoon.

More coverage: The Idaho Statesman profiles the four homicide victims.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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