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Coroner confirms Moscow murders were stabbings, community grieves

Police are canvassing the area for any knife purchases made.

MOSCOW, Idaho — All over Moscow, Idaho, restaurant signs can be seen with the message, "Prayers for our Vandals."

After the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students at a house off King Road, in what investigators called, "an isolated, target attack," the community is grieving.

Students are going home early out of fear. Some parking lots of fraternities and sororities are nearly empty. Many professors have canceled classes.

The Corner Club, a local bar, is within walking distance on campus -- many students go there on the weekends to let loose after a long school week.

Bar owner Marc Trivelpiece told KTVB that he knows many of the students who frequent the bar, and he doing his best to take care of his customers and employees at this time.

"I hurt for the student body. I hurt for their friends, and I hurt for the community," Trivelpiece said.

The victims -- 20-year-old Ethan Chapin, from Conway, Washington; 21-year-old Madison Mogen, from Coeur d'Alene; 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, from Post Falls and 21-year-old Kaylee GonCalves, from Rathdrum -- were all pronounced dead  at noon on Sunday, Nov. 13. from a homicidal stabbing, the Latah County Coroner released Thursday. 

Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told KTVB that she has no way of knowing it was the same knife that killed all four students, but if it wasn't -- it would have to be pretty similar.

Mabbutt could not speak to defensive wounds, and she could not say if the victims were asleep at the time. She did say the victims most likely died in the early morning hours.

"I can't specify an exact time of death because it wasn't reported until the later morning, I believe the call came in at 11:58," Mabbutt said. She said there is no way of knowing who was attacked first. She could release no further information.

 All four of the students who died arrived at the house -- located at 1122 King Road -- after 1:45 a.m., police said.

Anyone with information is urged to call a tip line, 208-883-7180.

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The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit is now assisting Moscow Police in the investigation. The BAU assists with crime scene analysis, interviewing techniques and can create a profile of an unknown suspect for police to look for.

Idaho State Police also confirmed to KTVB that police have been canvassing businesses in the area for any knife purchases made near the time of the murders.

"We are still in the beginning of the investigation," Idaho State Police Communications Director Aaron Snell told KTVB. It is unknown how long it may take to process the scene, he said -- but because students have left for fall break, the investigation could last longer.

"Interviews will happen wherever a student is at for fall break," Snell said.

Police are in the process of creating a map of the victim's whereabouts before the murders, he added.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry said at a press conference Wednesday that Chapin and Kernodle were at a party at a different location earlier that evening, and that Mogen and GonCalves were at a downtown bar.

KREM 2 reported in an interview with Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt that the scene was "very sad" and there was "lots of blood." 

After the press conference, Snell said, there has been an increase in tips. Investigators are following every lead, he said.

Police previously confirmed that there were two other roommates in the home at the time of the attack, but they were unharmed. These two people were also in the house when police arrived, Fry said, and no other additional information can be released about what the two people know.

Fry also said that nothing at the house has been identified as missing and that, at this time, they will not divulge any information about where the bodies were found.

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