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Detectives say slain University of Idaho students may not have been 'specifically targeted' in knife attack

"Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but continue to investigate."

Joshua Young Youngsville North Carolina

The Moscow Police Department are now saying that the four University of Idaho students who were murdered early in the morning on November 13 may not have been targeted as authorities had previously said.

Moscow police said in a statement, "Conflicting information has been released over the past 24 hours. The Latah County Prosecutor's Office stated the suspect(s) specifically looked at this residence, and that one or more of the occupants were undoubtedly targeted. We have spoken with the Latah County Prosecutor's Office and identified this was a miscommunication. Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but continue to investigate."

On November 13 the bodies of 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, her boyfriend 20-year-old Ethan Chapin, along with 21-year-old Madison Mogen and 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves were found butchered to death after police responded to a report of an unconscious person at a rented home on King Road in Moscow, Idaho. No arrests have yet been made and no suspects have been announced. 

The Daily Mail reports Latah County prosecutor Bill Thompson said on Wednesday, "investigators believe that this attack was intended for a specific person." The Moscow Police Department released their contradictory information hours later.

Chief of Moscow police James Fry said on November 16 the attack was believed to have been "targeted" and added, "We need to be aware. The individual is still out there" and, "We cannot say there is no threat to the community." Fry said the same thing on Wednesday, hours before the correction.

According to local ABC News, Fry said he believes it was "a targeted attack," and added "Everyone wants answers... We want to give those answers as soon as we can."

The Latah County Prosecutor’s Office also said early in the case that "one or more of the occupants were undoubtedly targeted" and that the suspect "specifically looked at this residence" according to NBC News.

Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier said, "We've told the public very clearly from the beginning that we believe it was a targeted attack," on November 23.

Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt confirmed to CBS News on November 17 that the victims were stabbed to death, described the attacks as "personal," and that the murder weapon, which has still yet to be found, "would have had to be a large knife." It was further revealed that Idaho police were on the hunt for a "Rambo"-style, Ka-Bar-style knife.

Two other roommates who were unharmed in the attack, Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen, have been cooperating with authorities and are not considered suspects.

Reports indicate that the group of friends had been out socializing but authorities believe all four of murdered students had returned to the house by 1:45 am.


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