Idaho homicide: Investigators work through Thanksgiving Day as college town shuts down

MOSCOW, Idaho – Eleven days after the gruesome stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students, Moscow had become a ghost town.

It was a gloomy Thanksgiving Day, when almost every business on Main Street was closed – except for the gym. Many students had gone home to spend the holidays with family or to distance themselves from the shocking unsolved murders.

Outside Mad Greek, a makeshift memorial honors the victims. It’s one of several that have popped up around town and on campus.

Two of the victims, Madison Mogen, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, worked there. In the window is a flyer asking the public for tips.

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The four victims of the killing at the University of Idaho on November 13, 2022.

The four victims of the killing at the University of Idaho on November 13, 2022.
(Instagram/@kayleegoncalves)

“I don’t know what to say other than you were amazing people who didn’t deserve this,” one note read.

The two women, along with Ethan Chapin, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were stabbed to death in their sleep on November 13 between 3 and 4 a.m. in a rental house where the three young women lived with two other roommates, who were not injured . Chapin was Kernodle’s girlfriend and stayed that night.

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A woman who works at the coffee shop near Moscow’s police headquarters said she did not expect others to be open on the holiday.

Few cars drove through the area. Most of the parking lots were empty.

Mourners have left notes at makeshift memorials around town and on campus for the four University of Idaho students killed.

Mourners have left notes at makeshift memorials around town and on campus for the four University of Idaho students killed.
(Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

But investigators were seen working through the holiday and getting a late morning start.

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FBI personnel and uniformed officers came and went. A plainclothes man briefly came out front, said police headquarters were “packed” inside, and returned through the locked front doors.

Members of the FBI team arrive at the Moscow, Idaho, police department on Thanksgiving after a murder.

Members of the FBI team arrive at the Moscow, Idaho, police department on Thanksgiving after a murder.
(Derek Shook for Fox News Digital)

Two people arrived to drop off boxes of donuts, and at one point a truck arrived to refuel the mobile command center, which was stationed in the fenced parking lot behind the police station at the start of the day.

WATCH: Moscow police provide an update:

Moscow Police Chief James Fry did not immediately respond to questions about Thanksgiving manning, but at a news briefing Wednesday, authorities said they planned to keep the investigation going through the holiday.

Moscow, Idaho, cruisers in police station parking lot on Thanksgiving.  Uniformed officers and members of the FBI were seen coming and going on the holiday morning.

Moscow, Idaho, cruisers in police station parking lot on Thanksgiving. Uniformed officers and members of the FBI were seen coming and going on the holiday morning.
(Derek Shook for Fox News Digital)

Aaron Snell, director of communications for the Idaho State Police, told Fox News Digital on Thursday that investigators would be working around the clock and Thanksgiving and through the holiday weekend.

“We have several detectives continuing to work, FBI agents continuing to work,” he said. “They will work through this holiday and through the weekend.”

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Outside the victims’ home just off campus, Latah County sheriff’s deputies stood guard. Behind them, pink tape sealed the front door, marked and time-stamped for each investigator who had entered.

A Latah County deputy monitors the crime scene on Thanksgiving morning.

A Latah County deputy monitors the crime scene on Thanksgiving morning.
(Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

Crime scene tape remains around the property where the blinds are drawn closed. The victims’ cars were still parked outside Thursday morning.

And investigators have their work cut out for them. A classmate told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that the victims lived in a known “party house” where dozens of friends may have passed through in the days leading up to the murder, complicating the collection of DNA evidence at the scene.

The backyard of an off-campus house where the victims were killed can be seen through police tape.

The backyard of an off-campus house where the victims were killed can be seen through police tape.
(Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

“They could have had a party last week between 40, 50 people, so hair evidence, all that becomes very suspicious,” Joseph Giacalone, adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York and a retired NYPD sergeant, told Fox News Digital. “Because of the dynamics of what you’re dealing with here, you have to rely on phone records, internet records and surveillance video to try to piece this thing together.”

Police have not publicly identified any suspects or persons of interest.

But they have ruled out the two female roommates who were downstairs at the time of the murders, a man who appeared on surveillance video at a food truck at the same time as Goncalves and Mogen shortly before they returned home, a “private party” driver who took them to the house, Goncalves’ ex-girlfriend and a group of friends who were present at the house Sunday morning when the first 911 call was made.

University of Idaho victims Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves seen in video footage hours before they were killed.

University of Idaho victims Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves seen in video footage hours before they were killed.
(Twitch/ GrubTruckers)

Police said Wednesday they had taken 4,000 photos and collected 103 pieces of “evidence.”

They also said detectives seized the contents of three containers on King Road as part of the investigation.

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They are asking anyone with surveillance footage in the surrounding area to turn it over.

They have not found the murder weapon and have not been able to confirm reports that Goncalves had a stalker before the attack.

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“Kaylee mentioned having a stalker, but detectives have not been able to confirm the statement,” police said in a statement. “Investigators are asking anyone with information about a potential stalker or unusual cases to contact the tip line.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the tipline at 208-883-7180 ​​or email tipline@ci.moscow.id.us.

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