Murdered Idaho student’s family mull legal action as police chief breaks down and vows case ‘isn’t cold’

The grieving family of murdered University of Idaho student Kaylee Goncalves are considering legal action to force police to release information about the case, as tensions continue to mount between law enforcement and the victims’ families.

More than three weeks have now passed since Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were murdered in an off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho, and police appear to be no closer to catching the killer.

No suspects have been named, no arrests made and the murder weapon – a fixed-blade knife – is yet to be recovered.

Law enforcement officials are remaining tight-lipped about several details of the brutal killings, including who may have been the target of the attack.

Some of the victims’ families are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of information, with Goncalves’ father Steve Goncalves accusing officials of “messing up a million times” during the ongoing probe.

Mr Goncalves told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that he has been consulting with several attorneys about what legal avenues he could use to challenge what he feels is a lack of transparency and progress from police.

“There are things that we can request and things we can do to get to the truth faster,” he said.

“You have to fill out forms to get this evidence released to you. I don’t know how to do that.”

He added: “They’ve messed up a million times. But I don’t get to say that because what experience does Steve have? He doesn’t know.

“He’s just a dad who woke up one day and had his life turned upside down.”

Mr Goncalves’ frustration comes as Moscow Police Chief James Fry broke down in tears on Tuesday as he insisted that the case is “not going cold” and that – as a father himself – the murders of the four students “affects us”.

“This case is not going cold. We have tips coming in, we have investigators out every day interviewing people. We’re still reviewing evidence, we’re still looking at all aspects of this,” he said in an interview with Fox News.

“I said early on that no stone will go unturned, and I mean that. We are going to continue. This case is not going cold.”

The police chief became emotional as he revealed that the investigation is taking its toll on law enforcement officials who are doing everything they can to catch the mass murderer.

Steve Goncalves talks about his daughter, Kaylee Goncalves, at a vigil (AP)
Steve Goncalves talks about his daughter, Kaylee Goncalves, at a vigil (AP)

“I’m a dad with daughters, and it’s tough. We’re human,” he said.

“We don’t go to these and just turn it off. It affects us. But we have a job to do, and we’re going to continue to do that job, going to continue to push forward.”

In a video update, the police chief said that some of the victims’ personal belongings would be collected from the house on King Road on Wednesday and returned to their family members.

The items released “are no longer needed for the investigation”, police said, asking the media and the public to allow the collection to take place “as privately as possible in an effort to maintain respect for the victims and their families”.

While the investigation is wrapping up at the crime scene, police issued a fresh appeal on Monday for information about the final hours of victims Kernodle and Chapin.

On the night of 12 November, Kernodle and Chapin had gone to a fraternity party at Sigma Chi from 8pm to 9pm on the University of Idaho campus.

The young couple then arrived back at the home on King Road that Kernodle, Mogen and Goncalves shared with two other female students at around 1.45am on 13 November.

The four victims were all stabbed to death at around 3am or 4am, their bodies lying undiscovered for several more hours.

Kaylee Goncalves was stabbed to death along with three other students (Kaylee Goncalves IG)
Kaylee Goncalves was stabbed to death along with three other students (Kaylee Goncalves IG)

Three weeks on from the murders, there continues to be an almost five-hour gap between the time Kernodle and Chapin were seen at the frat house party and the time they arrived back at the house where they were attacked.

The two locations are only minutes apart on foot and are based in busy student areas, close to Greek Row where the University of Idaho’s sorority and fraternity houses sit.

Despite, thousands of tips pouring in from the public desperate to catch the killer, investigators are still unable to account for the major lapse in time and have provided no explanation for where Kernodle and Chapin may have been during those final hours.

Kernodle’s mother Cara Northington has said she believes her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend were at a bar during that time. However, she confirmed that she does not know that for sure.

On Monday, Moscow Police issued a statement urging anyone with information about “any interactions, contacts, direction and method of travel, or anything abnormal” of Kernodle and Chapin’s movements to come forward to help “add context to what occurred”.

The lack of information about Kernodle and Chapin’s last known movements is at odds with the detailed narrative given about the final movements of the other two victims.

On the night of 12 November, police said that best friends Goncalves and Mogen had spent the night at The Corner Club bar in downtown Moscow, arriving at around 10.30pm and staying around three hours until around 1.30am.

From there, they went to nearby food truck Grub Truck where they were captured on Twitch footage ordering food and chatting to other students.

They then got a ride home from an unnamed “private party” – a sorority service – to arrive back at the King Road home at around 1.56am.

The two surviving roommates were also out that night and arrived home at around 1am, police said.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry speaks in a video statement about returning personal items to victims’ families (Moscow Police Department)
Moscow Police Chief James Fry speaks in a video statement about returning personal items to victims’ families (Moscow Police Department)

At around 3am or 4am, an unknown assailant stabbed the four victims to death with a fixed-blade knife, police said. There was no signs of sexual assault on any of the victims.

The two surviving roommates woke later on the 13 November and called friends to the home as they believed one of the victims on the second floor had passed out and wouldn’t wake up. A 911 call was then made at around midday from one of the surviving housemate’s cellphones reporting an “unconscious individual” at the three-storey home.

Police arrived to find the four victims brutally stabbed to death on the second and third floors.

To date, investigators have ruled out several individuals as suspects: the two surviving housemates who were left unharmed and appear to have slept through the murders, other friends who were in the home when the 911 call was made alerting police to the murders, Goncalves’ former long-term boyfriend, a man seen on camera with Mogen and Goncalves at a food truck on the night of 12 November, and the person who gave them a ride from the food truck to the home where they died.

A sixth person listed on the lease of the student home and two men involved in a “stalker” incident with Goncalves around a month before the murders are also not believed to be connected to the case, police said.