‘Unimaginable’ loss: Memorial to one in four Idaho victims

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Friends and family gathered Monday to remember one of the four University of Idaho students who were stabbed to death in their home early Nov. 13 as police in the university city of Moscow were still dead has not identified a suspect in the killings.

Ethan Chapin’s memorial service was held in Mount Vernon, Washington, a town on Puget Sound just north of Seattle.

“We want to thank each and every one of you for being a part of Ethan’s life,” his family wrote in a program for the memorial. “It’s an incredible testament to his character, how many lives he touched in his short 20 years. The loss is unimaginable, but our family will endure.”

Chapin, 20, was triplet and is survived by his parents and siblings Maizie and Hunter. He attended Mount Vernon High School where he played basketball. All three triplets enrolled at the University of Idaho last August.

“Since attending the University of Idaho, Ethan has lived his best life,” reads his obituary. β€œHe loved the social life, the boarding school and tolerated the academics. He also continued to exercise.”

“When he wasn’t on the golf course or working, he could usually be found surfing, sand volleyball, or cucumber ball,” the obituary reads.

On Sunday, law enforcement officials investigating the deaths asked for patience after a week passed with no arrests.

Authorities said they had no suspect or weapon in the killings, which rocked Moscow, a city of 25,000 in the Idaho Panhandle that had not recorded a homicide in about five years.

Students and local residents expressed concern at the lack of details from police, who initially said there was no danger to the public but conceded days later that they could not say there was no threat.

“We know people want answers — we want answers, too,” said Idaho State Police Colonel Kedrick Wills. “Please be patient while we work through this investigation.”

Moscow Police Chief James Fry said authorities received nearly 650 tips and conducted 90 interviews. Police have also asked businesses and homes in certain parts of the city to provide them with footage taken between 3am and 6am on the day of the killings.

The university is on recess this week for Thanksgiving.

The victims were Chapin; Seniors Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; and junior Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho. The women were roommates, and Chapin was dating Kernodle.

Authorities said Sunday they had been stabbed multiple times and some had defensive wounds.

Police said two other housemates who were in the home the night of the murders overslept the attack and woke up later in the day. Police said one of their phones was used to call 911 from inside the home at 11:58 a.m. Police on Sunday refused to say who made the 911 call.

Police have said evidence leads them to believe the students were assaulted, although they have not given details and declined to do so again on Sunday. Investigators say nothing appears to have been stolen from the victims or the home. Police said there were no signs of forced entry and first responders found a door open when they arrived.

Dozens more law enforcement officers have arrived in Moscow, officials said.

The Moscow Police Department said four investigators, five auxiliaries and 24 patrol officers were working on the case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has 22 investigators assisting in Moscow and 20 other agents assisting from outside the area. The Idaho State Police have deployed 20 investigators, 15 patrol soldiers and their mobile crime scene team.

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