4 University Of Idaho Students Killed, Town Mayor Calls It A ‘Crime Of Passion’

Police are still investigating the mysterious crime but have identified the victims who were found dead in an off-campus apartment Sunday.
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Four University of Idaho students were found dead in an off-campus apartment across the street from the school in Moscow, Idaho, Sunday.

Moscow Police said in a press release Monday that they discovered the bodies of one man and three women after responding to a call around noon about an “unconscious individual.”

Police released the names of the victims: Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kaylee GonCalves, 21. No suspect is currently in custody.

All four students were members of the school’s Greek community, according to ABC News.

“There is no person on campus who isn’t affected by this,” said Maya Hippenstiel, a friend of the victims. “These are … really adored and loved people on our campus.”

“We are triplets, and it is hard to imagine life without him,” said Ethan Chapin’s brother, Hunter.

Art Bettge, the mayor of Moscow, described the crime as “complex.” He declined to say how the students were killed while speaking to The New York Times, but stressed that it seemed to be an isolated incident, and there is no “perceivable danger to the broader public.”

“With a crime of this magnitude, it’s very difficult to work through,” said Bettge, adding that the authorities still need time to further investigate the crime. “The overall assessment is that it’s a crime of passion.”

Bettge echoed his suspicion to NBC News, but said that it could have also been a property crime “gone wrong,” or that the “senseless” killings could be blamed on “most any scenario.”

He said that without a suspect, or knowing whether anything was taken from the apartment, the motive of the crime remains a mystery.

“Patience is needed to allow an investigation to proceed in meticulous fashion,” he added.

Cathy Mabbutt, the Latah County coroner, told the Times that autopsies for the victims will be conducted Wednesday, but would not be able to share any details about the way they were killed without police authorization.

“Words cannot adequately describe the light these students brought to this world or ease the depth of suffering we feel at their passing under these tragic circumstances,” Scott Green, the president of the university, said in a message to students and employees.

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