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Four students in Moscow, Idaho, died from an edged weapon, police say

Candles and flowers are left at a  memorial honoring four slain University of Idaho students at the Mad Greek restaurant in Moscow, Idaho, on Tuesday. Two of the victims, Madison Mogen, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, were servers at the restaurant.
Nicholas K. Geranios
/
AP
Candles and flowers are left at a memorial honoring four slain University of Idaho students at the Mad Greek restaurant in Moscow, Idaho, on Tuesday. Two of the victims, Madison Mogen, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, were servers at the restaurant.

Police in Moscow, Idaho, believe a knife or other edged weapon was used to kill four University of Idaho students this past weekend, providing an update about a homicide case they describe as "an isolated, targeted attack." Whoever is responsible for the deaths remain at large.

Only limited information has emerged about the killings, as member station Boise State Public Radio notes. Here's what we know so far.

The victims range from a freshman to a senior

The four students, three women and a man, were found dead in an apartment on King Road near campus on Sunday, after police responded to a report of an unconscious person.

After police publicly identified the slain students on Monday afternoon, the University of Idaho released more details about the four:

Ethan Chapin 20, a freshman from Mount Vernon, Wash., was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. His major was recreation, sport and tourism management.

Kaylee Goncalves, 21, a senior from Rathdrum, Idaho, majored in general studies in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.

Xana Kernodle, 20, a junior from Post Falls, Idaho, majored in marketing and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.

Madison "Maddie" Mogen, 21, a senior from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, was majoring in marketing.

All three women were from Kootenai County — whose county seat, Coeur d'Alene, sits across the border from Spokane, Wash. Chapin was from north of Seattle, in western Washington.

Kernodle and Mogen worked together at the Mad Greek restaurant in downtown Moscow.

"Xana and Maddie have been servers here for several years and brought so much joy to our restaurant and all of those they encountered," the restaurant's management said. In a follow-up post, they said the pair's friends and university staff met at the restaurant Monday night to share support.

The deaths were deemed homicides

The Moscow Police Department says it hasn't found any weapons related to the attack, but preliminary information leads investigators to believe "an edged weapon such as a knife was used."

"Currently, there are no suspects in custody," the police said on Tuesday.

The police are hoping to learn more later this week, when autopsies on the victims are expected to be complete. That could "hopefully provide more definitive information on the exact cause of the deaths," the department said.

Moscow Mayor Art Bettge says the local police are investigating "with support from multiple other agencies."

The campus is mourning, and on edge

Based on what they've learned so far, investigators view the killings as "an isolated, targeted attack and there is no imminent threat to the community at large," the department said.

But with no one in custody and scant details available, "Many students are fearful and leaving campus early for Thanksgiving break," local TV anchor Maggie O'Mara said via Facebook.

The authorities are now working to piece together the victims' activities and the events that transpired in the Saturday evening and Sunday morning that culminated in the discovery of the quadruple homicide.

Some of the victims' relatives have released statements through local media outlets, mourning the tragic loss of young people who were well-loved and who had promising futures ahead of them. Amid a lack of answers, they also urged people not to speculate or spread misinformation about what led to the attack.

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Bill Chappell
Bill Chappell is a writer, reporter and editor, and a leader on NPR's flagship digital news team. He has frequently contributed to NPR's audio and social media platforms, including hosting dozens of live shows online.