Four Idaho University Students Killed in 'Crime of Passion' Near Campus Identified as Police Remain Tightlipped about Motive

The four college students were identified as Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, according to the Moscow Police Department.

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Four University of Idaho students were found dead in their off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho, in a 'crime of passion.' Police on Monday identified the four college students but refused to disclose a motive, which could include "burglary gone wrong" or a "crime of passion," according to Mayor Art Bettge.

The four college students were identified as Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, according to the Moscow Police Department. As of now, police are treating the case as a homicide but are unwilling to share any further details about the murders including if there is a suspect on the loose.

Killed Together Mysteriously

Idaho University students
The four Idaho University students killed were identified as Madison Mogen, 21, top left, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, bottom left, Ethan Chapin, 20, center, and Xana Kernodle, 20, right Twitter

Police are against divulging how the students died suddenly in their home on King Road in Moscow, Idaho, which is 80 miles from Spokane and close to the Washington state line, although they are treating the case as a homicide.

However, they did say they were called to the property after an anonymous caller reported seeing an unconscious person around noon at the home on King Road, which is adjacent to Greek Row and just blocks from the University of Idaho campus.

Kaylee GonCalves and Madison Mogen
Kaylee GonCalves and Madison Mogen were found dead under mysterious circumstances Twitter

The victims were later identified as Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Kaylee Goncalves. The four appeared to be friends based off social media accounts. Chapin and Kernodle appeared to be in a relationship.

"With a crime of this magnitude, it's very difficult to work through," Bettge told The New York Times. Bettge later said the deaths were a "targeted, one-off situation," according to The Spokesman-Review.

While Mogen and Goncalves were Gem State natives prior to enrolling in the university, Chapin and Kernodle were both from outside the state.

Chapin and Kernodle
Chapin and Kernodle were in a relationship before their deaths Twitter

Goncalves was from Rathdrum in the state, and Mogen was from Coeur d'Alene. Chapin was from Washington state, while Kernodle was from Arizona.

Kernodle was a junior majoring in marketing and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, while Mogen was a senior majoring in marketing and Goncalves was a senior majoring in general studies.

Chilling Last Photo

Hours before the bodies were discovered, Goncalves tweeted a disturbing final photo of the four people smiling and embraced on a porch of a residence. Kernodle, of Avondale, Arizona was also in the picture and didn't appear to be in a sorority.

Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen
Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen Twitter

In a message posted to social media, Goncalves' family said that the 21-year-old was just a few months away from moving across the country for a new job.

"She was looking forward to her job in tech starting on 1/1, a move to Texas, road trips in her just purchased Range Rover, and a trip she planned out to Europe," the family wrote. "She'd never stop fighting for us and demanding the truth and justice and neither will we."

Police is yet to tell if there is a fifth person who could have killed the four students. An investigation is on but no arrests have been made yet.

Chapin and Xana Kernodle
Chapin and Xana Kernodle Twitter

Currently, there is no one in custody," the police department said in a press release. "The Moscow Police does not believe there is an ongoing community risk based on information gathered during the preliminary investigation."

According to Idaho police, they received a call about an unconscious person at the house just before noon on Sunday. Police Capt. Tyson Berrett told the Idaho Statesman that when they reached the scene, they discovered all four victims dead inside a "home that was converted into an apartment."

Later, he revealed that all four of the students were university students, something the institution also revealed in a news statement. A few hours before they died, the group seemed to be hanging out together.

Anyone with knowledge has been urged to get in touch with the authorities.

The tragic discovery on Sunday first led the university to instruct students to remain indoors until authorities could confirm there was no ongoing threat to the community. More over 25,000 people live in Moscow, which is located in north-central Idaho and is roughly 80 miles from Spokane, Washington.

This article was first published on November 15, 2022
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