The killer behind the Idaho student slayings likely left DNA behind but the college house crime scene could complicate the investigation, police expert says

Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were killed in a off-campus apartment in Moscow, Idaho.
  • The killer who stabbed four Idaho students to death likely left DNA behind, a police expert said.
  • But the college house where the slayings happened could complicate the probe, the expert said.
  • No arrests have yet been made in connection to the November 13 killings in Moscow, Idaho.

The on-the-loose killer responsible for stabbing four University of Idaho students to death likely left DNA behind, but the college house where the slayings happened could complicate the probe, a police expert says.

There was "probably a massive amount of evidence" left at the off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho, where the four friends were killed during the early morning hours of November 13, Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Insider on Tuesday.

"So you have all this blood, and there might be hair fibers, but you're also dealing with a college house," where "lots of people [are] coming and going," Giacalone said. "So you probably have lots of mixtures in there with DNA."

Three of the four victims shared the rental home with two other roommates, and the residence has reportedly been described as a "party house" by a neighbor .

Giacalone, a 20-year NYPD veteran and former commanding officer of the department's Bronx Cold Case Squad, told Insider that if investigators pick up "so many different DNA profiles" at the crime scene then "they're not going to be able to effectively zero in on one specific person."

The Moscow Police Department and a local coroner have said that pals Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were attacked — likely while sleeping — on November 13 following a night out.

Some of the victims had defensive wounds on them, authorities said. Giacalone said there could have been DNA from the suspect under the victims' fingernails.

"When you have an up close and personal attack, the chances of [the victims] scratching and clawing their way to try to protect themselves, the chances of capturing DNA under those fingernails is pretty high," said Giacalone.

Of the suspect, he added, "You can't tell me that this person wasn't drenched in blood or didn't leave some of his own DNA behind."

Police said this week that 113 pieces of physical evidence have been collected and about 4,000 crime scene photos have been taken. Police said authorities also took three-dimensional scans of the home.

Meanwhile, no arrests have been made, no motive has been released, and no suspects have been publicly identified, leaving the small city on edge and the families of the victims frustrated as the murder investigation surpasses its third week.

Giacalone said he is "concerned" by how the case is progressing.

"The pressure on a case like this is tremendous and now that we're three weeks into it, that pressure is only going to get worse," he said.

The longer the investigation drags on, Giacalone said, "the worse it gets because you're dealing with a situation where, quite frankly, you might have too many suspects and not enough evidence to be able to prove or disprove."

Since the early days of the investigation, police have said the students were killed in a "targeted attack," but recently admitted that they don't know whether the young victims were "targeted."

"We have not changed our belief that the murders were a targeted attack. However, investigators have not concluded if the target was the residence or its occupants," the department said on Monday.

Giacalone called the nature of the killings "up close and personal."

"Somebody who chooses a knife really wants to inflict that pain and look into somebody's eyes when they do it," he said. "Rarely will you have a situation where a stranger will get you this angry."

Read the original article on Insider

Comments / 37

Lance Smith

what I am hearing from the police reports is that they have no clue. how does 2 people in that house not hear a thing. they're had to od been some kind aof commotion yelling screaming . this attack was not done by ninjas.

Piallana Parks

Looking at the video of the two girls getting food at the vendors, what exactly did the Lyft driver say and the other man who followed them to convince police they weren't the killers? And people partying and having a good time display different sound effects than people screaming for their lives and fighting. However, after the students were killed and the public was notified, causing other NEARBY STUDENTS to leave early and go home all except ONE HOUSE OF STUDENTS THAT DECIDED TO STAY AND LEAVE THE NEXT DAY. The house and everyone in it that decided to stay should have been investigated, and everyone in the homes that left early when they had returned. Common sense says the killer or killers was there and the police and everyone has seen them. should have been mandatory to keep them all in the area until all were interrogated. Even if it meant keeping them in jail.


Stabbing so crime of passion. An ex, a crush, or a dude jealous of the dude who hangs out with 3 good looking women. These folks were drunk n high (of only god knows what) out their minds


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