BOISE, Idaho — It's been 17 days since four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death in a home near campus. Police still do not have a suspect – or suspects – or a murder weapon.
Investigators say the victims – Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Kaylee Goncalves – were all likely asleep when they were attacked. They say some had defensive wounds, according to the coroner's report.
Now, students in communities across the state are gathering to honor the lives of the four students.
Classes resumed Monday in Moscow, but some students chose not to return to campus and to complete classes online until the end of the semester. However, the university will be holding a vigil to honor the victims Wednesday at the Kibbie Dome at 5 p.m. PT/6 p.m. MT.
On Tuesday, Idaho State Police Communications Director Aaron Snell told KTVB they are making "substantial progress" in the case as they continue to go through evidence and leads.
They have received more than 1,000 tips and more than 260 videos as of Tuesday.
While Moscow Police have been updating people on Facebook and through press releases everyday, there have not been any major updates in the case over the past week.
Flowers, photos and candles outside 1122 King Road currently serve as a tribute, and a dark reminder, of what happened to the four beautiful young souls.
Renee Weiss and her family live directly across from the home in Moscow where the four University of Idaho students were murdered early in the morning on Nov. 13.
"We are Vandals," Weiss said. "We are with the Vandal family. We understand all of the unrest and we understand all of the frustration and the pain and the hurt.... This is home."
Weiss gave law enforcement all the information she could, as she was home on Nov. 13.
"I was home apparently during the situation, but I didn't hear anything," Weiss said. "I was actually breastfeeding, but it was quiet and I was exhausted, so I could have very easily missed something."
Although police still have not caught whoever committed these crimes, Weiss feel safe, as she takes extra precautions – like locking her doors now – and sees law enforcement posted at the home.
"When all this happened, we were one of the very few families that stayed," Weiss said. "Yes, that sense of security may not be there, but I don't have to be like 'we have to move tomorrow.'"
Two trucks were seen towing five vehicles Tuesday afternoon from the crime scene in front of the home on King Road to a "more secure long-term storage location", Snell said. Authorities will collect any evidence and conduct testing that needs to be done.
Snell says authorities are not identifying whom the cars belong to.
"Most of our evidence collection has been completed. As we find other tips or leads that lead us in a different direction, we will collect more evidence," Snell said. "If there is something to collect, we will most definitely collect that. A perfect example is the five vehicles. We're moving them to another location. If there is any evidence we want or need from those, then that's where we'll grab it from there."
Snell said detectives are now in the stage of analyzing processed evidence in the case and piecing together information to paint a clearer picture of what happened. He says detectives are trying to "rebuild what occurred" leading up to - and during - the crime because they do not have a suspect or murder weapon.
Authorities have updated a timeline in recent days that shows Kaylee and Madison were together at the Corner Club on Main Street in downtown Moscow, then went to a food truck. They got home around 1:56 a.m.
Xana and Ethan were at the Sigma Chi fraternity house down the street from the home on King Road. Investigators said they got home around 1:45 a.m.
"The night at the fraternity house there are some gaps in the timeline and coverage. If anybody has any information about that, we’d like to know," Snell said.
Detectives believe the two surviving roommates were out that night as well, and got home around 1 a.m. an
Later on the morning of Nov. 13, the roommates asked friends to come over because they believed one of the second-floor victims passed out. Friends called 911 about an "unconscious person" from one of the roommates' phones around noon.
When police arrived, they found two victims stabbed to death multiple times on the second floor, and two on the third floor.
Snell won't say yet who was found on what floor, where exactly they were found, or which victim was stabbed first.
Detectives are looking for any and all surveillance video from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Sunday Nov. 13 from businesses and homes in this geographical area: West Taylor Ave. to the north, West Palouse River Dr. to the south, Highway 95 south to the 2700 block of Highway 95 S to the east, and the Arboretum & Botanical Garden to the west.
They also want more tips and any video of anything "out of the ordinary" on the night of Nov. 12 and overnight to Nov. 13 while the victims were out.
"Additionally, we know there’s probably some students who may have been involved in activities their parents may not have been super excited about them being involved in. We’re not looking to prosecute and go after kids for those activities they were doing," Snell told KTVB, "We really want videos and pictures from the night of that might help us get a better picture of maybe who was there and who wasn’t there, those types of ideas."
When asked if he believes authorities will in fact catch the person or people responsible for these murders, Snell said: "We are making substantial progress in this case. We are continuing to move forward. We have so many assets and resources that are working behind the scenes that people just don't know about."
Police are challenged, trying to debunk all the misinformation spreading.
"This is a criminal investigation, so we can't throw all of our cards on the table and tell everybody everything we have," Snell said. "So, it does cause for some conflict and some anger and some disillusionment about 'are we working the case,' and a lot of speculation comes up in the void of information being provided."
Speculation that Weiss feels stokes more fear and does a disserve to the victims, their families and the community of Moscow.
"Reminding people this isn't a rumor mill, not some episode of a criminal show that's going to be over in an hour," Weiss said. "There's a lot of evidence still being processed, tips still coming in."
FBI Behavioral Analysis Units (BAUs) are helping detectives try to solve this crime.
KTVB asked if they would release a suspect profile, but Snell said not at this time because it is pertinent to investigation.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Moscow Police tip line at 208-883-7180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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