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Some of the murdered University of Idaho students were stabbed in their beds, coroner says

Investigators baffled in Idaho student killings
Investigators baffled in mysterious killings of 4 Idaho college students 01:12

Of the four University of Idaho students who were found stabbed to death in a rental house last Sunday, some were killed in their beds, the Latah County coroner told CBS News Friday.

Coroner Cathy Mabbutt would not provide any further details. She noted, however, that earlier media reports stating all four victims had been murdered in their beds were not accurate. 

On Thursday, Mabbutt told CBS News the students were killed with a "larger knife," expanding on the autopsy reports which concluded the four victims were stabbed to death.

According to Moscow police, the coroner said all four victims were likely asleep, some had defensive wounds and each was stabbed multiple times. There was no sign of sexual assault, police said.

The killings have shaken Moscow, an Idaho Panhandle town of 25,000 residents that last saw a homicide about five years ago. The leafy college town is about 80 miles south of Spokane, Washington.

Officers have not identified a suspect or found a weapon, Moscow Police Chief James Fry has said.

All four victims were members of fraternities and sororities: seniors Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; junior Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and freshman Ethan Chapin, 20, of Mount Vernon, Washington. The women were roommates. The bodies were found around noon on Sunday, Nov. 13.

Moscow police said Friday that, while initial reports had indicated Chapin lived at the residence, he was just visiting at the time of his death. 

Two surviving roommates were found in the home, unharmed. At this point, investigators do not believe the two surviving roommates were involved in the killings, police said.

In a statement Saturday night, Moscow police provided new details on their investigation, saying that on the day of the murders, officers responded to a 911 call made at 11:58 a.m. from a cell phone of one of the surviving roommates about an "unconscious person." Officers arrived to find all four victims on the second and third floors of the home.

Police also said Saturday that investigators "do not believe" that a "private party driver" who took Mogen and Goncalves home in the early morning hours of Nov. 13 was "involved in this crime."

Police further disclosed that that there were "multiple phone calls" from Mogen and Goncalves "to a male." Police did not confirm if they knew the identity of that person.

"This information is part of the ongoing investigation," police said in the release. 

Police said Saturday that the two surviving roommates were out separately in Moscow in the late night hours of Nov. 12, and both had returned home by 1 a.m. on Nov. 13.

"The two did not wake up until later on November 13," police said in the release. 

Fry had previously declined to say whether the surviving roommates were able to provide an account of the killings. There was no sign of forced entry at the home, according to the chief, and a door was found open by the first police officers to arrive.  

Police have said evidence found at the scene leads them to believe that the students were targeted, though they haven't given details. Investigators say nothing appears to have been stolen from the victims or the home.

After initially saying there was no ongoing danger, Fry walked that back on Wednesday. 

"We cannot say that there is no threat to the community," Fry said. "We still believe it's a targeted attack. But the reality is there still is a person out there who committed four very horrible, horrible crimes."

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