Police in the college town home to the University of Idaho have been inundated with calls from a community still gripped by fear over a grisly quadruple homicide that has not been solved — as weary students are returning to campus from their Thanksgiving break.
The Moscow Police Department has received 78 calls for “unusual circumstances” and 36 welfare check requests since Nov. 13 — the day after students Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; Ethan Chapin, 20; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21; were stabbed to death in their sleep in an off-campus home, the agency said Sunday.
For comparison, the police department had received 70 unusual circumstances calls and just 18 welfare check requests for the entire month of October.
“We understand there is a sense of fear within our community,” cops acknowledged.
Local, state and federal investigators working the case are in the process of reviewing 488 “digital submissions,” including photo and video tips, that have been delivered to an FBI link by members of the public.
Students are scheduled to return to the UI campus Monday, but it remains unclear how many of them would resume in-person learning for the last two weeks of classes before winter break, reported CNN.
Fearing a killer on the loose, many students left campus early in the wake of the murders, and University of Idaho President Scott said last week that some students did not plan to return to campus until police made an arrest.
“As such, faculty have been asked to prepare in-person teaching and remote learning options so that each student can choose their method of engagement for the final two weeks of the semester,” he wrote in a statement.
The University of Idaho will be hosting a candlelight vigil Wednesday to honor the murder victims.
Police previously said they believed the killings of the four students were “targeted” and “isolated,” and they have not ruled out the possibility that there were multiple attackers.
So far, no suspects have been named and the murder weapon — believed to be a fixed-blade knife — has not been recovered.
Steve Gonclaves, the father of Kaylee Gonclaves, told Fox News Saturday he has not received any updates on the investigation from law enforcement since before Thanksgiving Day.
“They’re kind of just telling me that they can’t tell me much, which is frustrating to me because I’ve been very trustworthy,” he said.
Idaho State Police communications director Aaron Snell explained that investigators have been tight-lipped to avoid spreading more fear and suspicion in the community, which is already on edge and swarming with rumors.
Meanwhile, University of Idaho alum Kerry Uhlorn has raised more than $19,000 to buy and distribute Birdie personal alarms to students to make them feel safer on campus.
“It’s so scary, and I’m not even up there,” she told KTVB7. “I can’t imagine what it’s like for the people that are living there.”
Senior Megan Lolley told the station she is looking forward to getting her alarm so that she could protect herself.
“It feels dangerous to be up there right now,” she said. “I felt scared for the last week.”