University of Idaho murder investigation opens as four students found dead

Students' cause of death remains unknown

Four university students were found dead near the University of Idaho. AP
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Police in the US state of Idaho have begun a murder investigation into the deaths of four University of Idaho students whose bodies were found in an apartment near the campus.

Officers found the bodies inside the home in Moscow, a city of 25,000 people in north-western Idaho, after receiving a call about an unconscious person shortly before noon on Sunday, the Moscow Police Department said.

The students' cause of death is unknown.

Police said no one was in custody and they do not “believe there is an ongoing community risk”.

Students and staff had been advised to stay away from the area on Sunday.

The university of 6,800 students lifted the alert about three hours later, saying there was no continuing threat.

The police identified those found dead as Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington, Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho.

"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. No one feels that loss more than their families and friends,” university president Scott Green said in a memo to students and employees.

Mr Green asked university employees to be flexible and empathetic with students who wish to return home to spend time with their families.

The university will provide on-site counselling for students and employees, he said.

People gather to pray at the University of Idaho after four students were found dead. AP

Classes were cancelled on Monday and were to resume on Tuesday at the university, school officials said.

The incident came hours before a shooting at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville left three people dead and two wounded.

Updated: November 15, 2022, 5:50 PM