The four Idaho college students who were killed in a home about a block away from the University of Idaho campus were remembered at an emotional memorial service on Friday. At the commemoration, the two surviving roommates who were in the home at the time of the fatal attack, but not harmed, broke their silence about the case for the first time.
Dylan Mortenson and Bethany Funke were named for the first time as the two University of Idaho students who survived the quadruple homicide that claimed the lives of their friends on Nov. 13. They were the roommates of Madison Mogen, 21, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, who were killed along with Kernodle’s boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, who was sleeping over on the night of the killings.
Mortenson and Funke, both women, were asleep on the first floor of the rental home they shared with their roommates in Moscow, Idaho, when a killer or killers entered the residence and stabbed the four students to death. The victims were on the second and third floors and were stabbed multiple times in their sleep, though some had defensive wounds, according to the county coroner.
Moscow police do not consider the surviving roommates suspects in the case. In fact, investigators have identified no suspects at all, nor have they located a murder weapon, which is thought to be a fixed-blade knife, according to the latest update from Moscow police.
As the investigation into the gruesome deaths enters its fourth week without conclusive leads, frustration grows about whether the victims will ever get justice.
‘Four beautiful people’
Letters written by Funke and Mortensen were read aloud by a youth pastor during Friday’s memorial service, and paint a picture of a lively group of friends who dearly loved each other, as reported by WFIN.
Funke wrote about looking up to Mogen, who was her sorority mentor at Pi Beta Phi, as the big sister she always wanted.
“You always told me that everything happens for a reason, but I’m having a really hard time trying to understand the reason for this,” Funke wrote to Mogen in her letter.
Mortensen wrote that the four victims “lit up any room they walked into and were gifts to this world.”
“My life was greatly impacted to have known these four beautiful people,” Mortensen wrote in the letter read aloud.
Mortensen described the loving relationships within the group of friends: Chapin and Kernodle were dating and Mogen and Goncalves were childhood best friends.
“To Xana and Ethan – the two best friends but perfect pair together,” Mortensen wrote. “They had this unstoppable, loving relationship. They’d both look at each other with so much love. Everyone knew they were the perfect duo. They both had this fun, passionate, crazy but good energy. They both were the kind of people who cared about everyone and would help anyone.”
Mortensen described Kernodle as a “people person” and “life of the party,” while Chapin was an older brother figure who was goofy, sarcastic and loving. Mortensen wrote that Kernodle was Chapin’s “whole world, and you could see it in him.”
“I know, somewhere, Xana and Ethan are together, keeping each other company, watching us, and telling us it’s okay and that we have each other,” Mortensen wrote.
Mortensen wrote that her other two roommates, Mogen and Goncalves, were hard-working young women and “an inseparable duo.”
“Maddie and Kaylee were like second moms to me. They taught me a lot on how to be a responsible adult but also how to live life happy. They changed the way I look at life and how to enjoy life to the fullest,” she wrote.
Funke wrote that she wishes she could give each of the victims “one last hug” and to tell them how much she loved them.
“I know it will be hard to not have the four of them in our lives, but I know Xana, Ethan, Maddie and Kaylee would want us to live life and be happy,” Mortensen added, “and they would want us to celebrate their lives.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the case and have sent 22 investigators to Moscow and two Behaviour Analysis units, who are known for profiling criminals based on their crimes. Twenty agents are also working out of other locations in Idaho, Utah, and West Virginia