Moscow, Idaho police are looking for the occupant of a 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra that they believe may have been near the off-campus rental home when the four college students were stabbed to death in their beds.
“Tips and leads have led investigators to look for additional information about a vehicle being in the immediate area of the King Street residence during the early morning hours of November 13th,” police wrote in the update.
“Investigators believe the occupant(s) of this vehicle may have critical information to share regarding this case.”
Moscow police are asking anyone who has information about a person or persons who may have been driving this vehicle on the days preceding the murders to contact their tip line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be the piece of the puzzle that helps investigators solve these murders,” police wrote.
Investigators have still not been able to identify any suspects or locate the weapon used the quadruple homicide.
Coroners say the victims — Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20 — were all stabbed multiple times with a large fixed-blade knife and were likely ambushed in their sleep. Some of the victims had defensive wounds; there were no signs of sexual assault.
As the weeks drag on, frustration has been growing among Moscow community members and the victims’ families who are seeking justice for their slain loved ones.
Goncalves’ father told Fox News last week that he does “not feel confident” in the investigation, and Chapin’s father said weeks earlier that the lack of information from investigators was fuelling “false rumours and innuendo in the press.”
After the murders occurred, in the run-up to American Thanksgiving break, droves of students left the University of Idaho campus over fears of a killer still on the loose. University officials estimated that about 25-40 per cent of the student body still has not returned to campus as of early this week, the BBC reported.
“Nobody wants to send their kids to a community where they could face this kind of horror,” state lawmaker Ilana Rubel told local news outlet KHQ.
“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, it’s every student’s worst nightmare. They have got to find the perpetrator.”
Moscow Police Chief James Fry announced in a video update that investigators were boxing up a number of personal belongings from the crime scene that are “no longer needed for the investigation,” so they can be returned to the families of the victims.
“It’s time for us to give those things back that really mean something to those families,” Fry said. “I’m a dad. I understand the meaning behind some of those things.”
In its latest update, investigators said that they have collected at least 5,000 tips and emails, 113 pieces of physical evidence, and have taken approximately 4,000 crime scene photos.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the case and has allocated 46 investigators and two behaviour analysis units, who are known for profiling criminals based on their crimes. The Idaho State Police have contributed 13 investigators, 15 uniformed troopers, a communications team and a forensics team.
Idaho Governor Brad Little has directed up to US$1 million in state emergency funds to assist the investigation.