Local police clarify mixed reports from prosecutor

Police in Moscow, Idaho said Wednesday there were still “no changes or new information” regarding the investigation into the homicide in the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho after a county prosecutor reportedly gave mixed interviews over the past 24 hours.

On Tuesday evening, Latah County District Attorney Bill Thompson spoke with NewsNation correspondent Brian Entin to discuss the investigation into the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle , 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, on November 13.

University of Idaho kills victims: Clockwise from top left: Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen and Ethan Chapin.
Idaho Department

During the interviewwhich was posted on Entin’s Twitter, Thompson said many details of the case have yet to be confirmed, including whether investigators have determined that any of those killed were specifically targeted by the aggressor.

The following day, Boise, Idaho-based KTVB correspondent Morgan Romero tweeted that Thompson had confirmed to her in a separate interview “that one of the house victims was in fact the target.”

“He also said he was confident they were going to find out who did this and hold them accountable,” Romero wrote, adding that the interview would air on KTVB on Wednesday night.

The report caused confusion on Twitter, with several users pointing out that Thompson had made a different statement to Entin a day prior. Romero posted later that the Moscow Police Department said it would issue a press release “to clarify the mixed message that the prosecutor sent to a journalist yesterday and to me today.”

On Facebook on Wednesday, police said they believed Thompson’s responses “were posts to support the implication that new information had been released.”

“At this time, there are no changes or new information in this case, and references would otherwise be inaccurate,” the post read. “We ask the public to refer to the Moscow Police Department website for any updates on the investigation.”

Police added that no suspects were identified on Wednesday and that “only verified information that does not impede the investigation will be made public.”

“There is speculation, without factual backing, stoking community fears and spreading false facts,” the post read. “We encourage referencing official releases for accurate information and updated progress.”

The final clarification came before the vigil organized by the University of Idaho for the four student victims on Wednesday evening. The families of Goncalves, Mogen and Chapin were present surrounded by fellow students and other members of the campus community, while Kernodle’s parents were reportedly unable to attend.

Chapin’s mother, Stacy, was the first of the family members to address the crowd. Chapin, a triplet, attended the University of Idaho with his siblings Maizie and Hunter, and their mother said the campus “is a special place for our family personally.”

“The circumstances that bring us here tonight are terrible,” Chapin told the crowd. “The hardest part is that we can’t change the outcome. And as a family, as the Chapin family, it’s important that we share Ethan’s legacy and talk about the impact that he had in his 20s or 20s.”

Stephen Goncalves also took the stage to talk about his daughter, Kaylee, and her best friend, Mogen. According to the father, the two had been friends since sixth grade and attended high school together before choosing to attend the University of Idaho.

“They came here together, they ended up going into the same apartment together,” Goncalves said. “And in the end, they died together in the same room in the same bed.

“It’s a shame and it hurts,” he added. “But the beauty of always being together the two of us is something that goes, it comforts us, it lets us know that they were with their best friend in the whole world.”

Further information on the case, as well as future press releases, can be found on the Moscow Police website.

Newsweek contacted the University of Idaho for comment.


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