Two surviving Idaho roommates speak out for first time after brutal murders, long for ‘one last hug’

Weeks after their lives had been spared while four fellow University of Idaho students were brutally murdered, 19-year-olds Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen offered their first emotional statements about their friends while police remain unable to name a suspect.

The investigation into the slaying of 21-year-olds Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen along with 20-year-olds Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle has entered its fourth week with little progress to show from law enforcement about the Nov. 13 fatal stabbings. While the public awaited answers, the survivors sought solace at a Friday memorial with remarks read by a pastor at Real Life Ministries church in Post Falls, Idaho.

“I wish every day that I could give them all one last hug and say how much I love them,” Funke wrote in part as both girls, who had been asleep on the first floor of the three-story residence on the night in question, had thoughts on each of the victims.

“My life was greatly impacted to have known these four beautiful people,” Mortensen wrote in part. “My people who changed my life in so many ways and made me so happy. I know it will be hard to not have the four of them in our lives, but I know Xana, Ethan, Maddie and Kaylee would want us to live life and be happy and they would want us to celebrate their lives.”

Of Kernodle and Mogen, Funke said respectively, “There really wasn’t one person that didn’t love you and your amazing personality,” and “I always looked up to you so much,” while touching on Gonclaves as “sweet and giving.”

“You always told me that everything happens for a reason, but I’m having a really hard time trying to understand the reason for this,” she added.

Meanwhile, Mortensen noted of Chapin, Kernodle’s boyfriend, how he was “sweet and loving” and “like an older brother” to her.”

The attempt at closure for the grieving undergrads and the community was not without wanting when the City of Moscow Police Department provided their update on the homicide investigation Saturday.

Despite combined thousands of calls, emails, and media submissions to various tip lines, they stated, “At this time, no suspect has been identified and 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. We encourage referencing official releases for accurate information and updated progress.”

The meager progress has led to the frustration of many, including Steve Gonclaves, father to victim Kaylee Gonclaves. On Sunday he joined “Fox & Friends Weekends” to state about the investigation, “I do not feel confident. And that’s why I push the envelope and say a little bit more. I hate to be that guy, but, you know…everybody has a job and a role to play and this is my role as the parent.”

Later on, he clarified that his opinion was not about the entirety of the force as he said, “All the officers that are out on the streets, those guys are working their tails off. But there’s a different person who does the communication. And that guy’s sitting with the lawyer and that guy’s sitting there telling him you’ve got to protect things that are beyond the case, like the town and the community and the college itself. Those don’t matter as much to me.”

“I did sit down with the investigator, the lead investigator, and I looked in his eyes,” the father added, “and I got a sense that this guy was going to do everything in his power to get–to figure something out. But if the evidence isn’t there, that’s the part that I’m concerned [about].”

Kevin Haggerty


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