'Gifts to this world': 2 surviving roommates break silence after University of Idaho murders

'I wish every day that I could give them all one last hug,' a roommate said.

ByEmily Shapiro ABCNews logo
Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Dad of Kaylee Gonclaves says daughter's wounds were far more severe than best friend's
Steve Goncalves said the wounds his daughter, Kaylee Gonclaves, suffered were far more severe than Madison Mogen's.

MOSCOW, Idaho -- The two University of Idaho roommates who survived a mysterious quadruple homicide in their off-campus house are speaking out for the first time, ABC News reported.

Roommates Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, as well as Kernodle's boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, were stabbed to death in the girls' off-campus house in the early hours of Nov. 13. No suspects have been identified.

"They all lit up any room they walked into and were gifts to this world. I wish every day that I could give them all one last hug and say how much I loved them," one of the roommates said in a statement read by a pastor at a memorial service over the weekend.

She said Mogen, who was her "big sister" in the Pi Beta Phi sorority, was the older sister she "always wanted."

"You always gave me the best advice," she said.

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The second surviving roommate said "Maddie and Kaylee were like second moms to me" and "changed the way I look at life."

Goncalves and Mogen were "the inseparable duo," she said, describing Mogen as compassionate and happy-go-lucky and Goncalves as strong and driven.

Chapin and Kernodle were the "perfect pair" who had an "unstoppable, loving relationship," she said.

"They both would look at each other with so much love," she said.

She added, "I know somewhere Xana and Ethan are together keeping each other company watching us and telling us it's OK."

The two surviving roommates -- who police said are not suspects -- likely slept through the attacks, according to authorities. They were on the ground floor while the four students killed were on the second and third floors. Police have not identified the surviving roommates.

Goncalves' dog was also found at the scene. Police said Monday it's not clear where the dog was during the killings, but when officers arrived there was no indication the animal had been in the crime scenes.

The murders likely took place around 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., according to officials. In the morning, the two roommates called friends over because they thought one of the victims on the second floor had passed out and wasn't waking up, police said.

At 11:58 a.m., a 911 call from one of the roommate's phones requested help for an unconscious person, police said. The 911 caller's identity has not been released but police said "multiple people talked with the 911 dispatcher."

Responding officers found the four victims on the second and third floors, police said.

Police said they do not believe anyone in the house at the time of the 911 call was involved.

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Police said they've spoken to two men who may have been the "stalker" Goncalves mentioned to friends and family. In October, the men were seen at a local business, and one of the men appeared to follow Goncalves into the store and then follow her as she headed to her car, according to police. The man never made contact with the college student, police said.

These men have since told police they were trying to meet women at the business, police said.

The authorities said there's no evidence these men were involved in the murders.

Moscow police are continuing to ask the public for help. The department said in a new statement said Monday: "We believe someone has information that will add context to the picture investigators are creating of what occurred. ... Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be one of the puzzle pieces that help solve these murders."

Police said they're continuing to investigate "what occurred" from 9 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. when Chapin and Kernodle were believed to be at the Sigma Chi fraternity house. "Any interactions, contacts, direction and method of travel, or anything abnormal could add context," police said.

Authorities are also still "looking into information about Kaylee having a stalker," police said. "Information about a potential stalker or unusual occurrences should go through the Tip Line."

Police urge anyone with information to upload digital media to fbi.gov/moscowidaho or contact the tip line at tipline@ci.moscow.id.us or 208-883-7180.