‘Stay vigilant!’ Cops warn Idaho students’ killer could strike AGAIN during weekend’s winter celebration

Heading into a celebratory weekend, police offered another update on the murder investigation of four University of Idaho students with words of caution: “Stay vigilant.”

The suspect responsible for fatally stabbing Ethan Chapin, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Madison Mogen, 21, remains unknown nearly one month since the Nov. 13 tragedy. With that reality came a somber warning from the Moscow Police Department as students, family and friends gathered for the winter commencement ceremony Saturday.

“With commencement this weekend, there will be an influx of people coming in from out of town. Moscow Police Department and Idaho State Police will provide coverage on campus and in the Moscow area,” the update begins before adding, “As always, we want to remind the public to stay vigilant, travel in groups, and communicate with family and friends as you travel.”

From there the post seemed to endeavor to allay any concerns as the police listed off the amount of law enforcement from their department, the Idaho State Police and the FBI that were actively working to crack the case.

Two separate commencement ceremonies were reportedly held Saturday to award a combined 581 bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees. During the proceedings, University of Idaho President Scott Green offered some words on the slain students and attendees took part in a moment of silence.

“They were bright lights on our campus,” Green said.

In another video update from Moscow Police Chief James Fry, he assured, “We’re working steady on the investigation still. We’re still receiving tips. We’re still receiving items in from…down at the lab. Things are continuing. We’re still pushing forward and…we’re at the normal process of investigation. We’re still doing a lot of interviews and talking to a lot of people.”

The latest message from Fry came directly on the heels of a different message of caution as Friday he had warned the public to mind what lengths they were taking to track down information on their own.

As previously reported, internet sleuths had been sharing theories and spreading unverified claims that, in some cases, led to individuals being harassed. The police chief said, “What we want people to know is…that individuals who are being harassed in this situation, people need to be careful because some of it’s happening online, some of it’s happening through phone calls and in person, and people could be charged possibly in the future if it continues to a point where it reaches a criminal element.”

“You know, there’s been a lot of speculation and rumors,” Fry continued. “And what we want to say is, we are the official source of information. We want people to pay attention to what we’re putting out there because that is accurate information, and anything that comes from other sources is either rumor or speculation and we want to put an end to that as soon as possible.”

The most recent active lead the police have informed the public about remained a “white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra” that may have been in the area at the time of the murders. Investigators believe whoever may have been in the vehicle could provide them with much needed information to move forward and have encouraged citizens to continue reaching out to their tip lines.


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Kevin Haggerty


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