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'A healing step': House where Idaho student murders occurred to be demolished

The owner of the house offered to give the house to the university, who will have it torn down.

MOSCOW, Idaho — The owner of the house where four University of Idaho students were murdered in November is giving the house to the university. That house, on King Street, will be demolished, U of I President Scott Green said Friday in an email to students and employees.

"This is a healing step and removes the physical structure where the crime that shook our community was committed," Green wrote. "Demolition also removes efforts to further sensationalize the crime scene."

Green also said university officials are evaluating options "where students may be involved in the future development of the property."

In his email, Green also wrote about the outpouring of support since the murders.

"From the day we learned of the senseless deaths of Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, the outpouring of support from our Vandal Family has been tremendous," he wrote. "Everywhere I turn, people are asking what they can do to help. What resulted is an incredible display of what it means to be a Vandal. The compassion, tenacity and resilience of our community shows in the generous actions."

Green wrote that a university committee, with student representation, has begun planning a healing garden and memorial to the four students who were killed. The garden will be located on the university's Moscow campus, but the exact location has not been identified. Also:

  • Money donated to the victims' families' GoFundMe pages has been directed to the Bruce and Kathy Pitman Emergency Fund to help students.
  • Vandal alumni Gene Taft and Bob Urso, and Bob's wife, Gail, led a "peer-driven effort to create scholarships as a legacy for each of the four students," and the Vandals Supporting Vandals fund took shape.
  • Endowed scholarships have been established in memory of Chapin, Kernodle and Mogen. Green said the university is working with Kaylee Goncalves's family to establish a scholarship in her name.

Green concluded his letter with this: "Sometimes it is hard to see beyond this tragedy. But the selfless acts, the deep engagement and loving support of our entire Vandal Family reminds me that there is so much good in the world. We will never forget Xana, Ethan, Madison and Kaylee, and I will do everything in my power to protect their dignity and respect their memory. Together we will rebuild and continue to support each other. We are #vandalstrong."

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