Where were Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin? Five-hour time gap still unexplained weeks on from Idaho murders

The mystery continues to deepen around Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin’s final hours before they were brutally stabbed to death alongside Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves in a student rental home in Moscow, Idaho.

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.

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, The Independent reached out to Moscow Police for further information.

Hours later, the department appeared to confirm that they have been unable to shed light on the matter, saying in an update that investigators are still “investigating what occurred from approximately 9pm on November 12th to 1.45am on November 13th, when Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were believed to be at the Sigma Chi house on the University of Idaho Campus at 735 Nez Perce Drive”.

Investigators continue to urge anyone with information about “any interactions, contacts, direction and method of travel, or anything abnormal” to come forward to help “add context to what occurred”.

Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle pictured together (Jazzmin Kernodle)
Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle pictured together (Jazzmin Kernodle)

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.

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.

Police officers were called to a report of an “unconscious individual” at the three-storey home at around midday on 13 November.

Inside, they found the four victims brutally stabbed to death on the second and third floors.

Goncalves’ dog Murphy was also found in the home unharmed – not in a room with any of the victims.

Investigators have been able to rule out both a man caught on camera with Mogen and Goncalves at the food truck and the person who gave them a ride home as suspects in the murders.

The two surviving housemates who were left unharmed and appear to have slept through the murders – as they slept on the first floor of the home – have also been ruled out as have Goncalves’ former long-term boyfriend and other friends who were in the home when the 911 call was made.

A sixth person listed on the lease and two men involved in an incident with Goncalves around a month earlier are also not believed to be connected to the murders.

Moscow Police revealed details of the incident on Monday, saying that it “may have been the stalker reference” Goncalves made to friends and family.

Before her death, the 21-year-old had complained that she believed she had a stalker.

The home where the four students were brutally murdered (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
The home where the four students were brutally murdered (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Moscow Police said that in mid-October – around one month before she was murdered – there was an incident involving two men at a local business.

One of the men appeared to follow Goncalves inside the building and as she left to walk to her car, police said.

Neither of the two men appeared to make any contact with the 21-year-old and both have since been identified and have spoken with detectives.

Police said that the two men were attempting to meet women at the business and that they believe the incident involving Goncalves was “isolated” and “not an ongoing pattern of stalking”.

There is no evidence to suggest either of the men were involved in the murders, police said.

Despite the revelation about the incident, officials are still seeking tips about the stalker claims and are still unable to confirm or deny the existence of a stalker as they are yet to determine who or what was the focus of the “targeted” attack.

Now, 24 days into the investigation, police appear to be no closer to catching the killer.

No suspects have been identified, no arrests have been made and the murder weapon is yet to be found.