Idaho Cops: Surviving Roommates May Be 'Key' in College Murders

Xana Kernodle had 'bruises' from fighting back, dad says; loved ones of other victims also speak
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2022 1:39 PM CST
Dad of University of Idaho Victim: She Fought Her Killer
This July 2022 photo shows University of Idaho students Xana Kernodle, right, and Ethan Chapin on a boat on Priest Lake in Idaho.   (Jazzmin Kernodle via AP)

"It doesn't make sense." Those are the words of Jeffrey Kernodle, father of Xana Kernodle, one of the four University of Idaho students slain last weekend in their off-campus home in the small town of Moscow, which hasn't seen a murder since 2015, per CBS 5. Jeffrey Kernodle, a resident of Avondale, Ariz., tells the outlet that an autopsy shows that his 20-year-old daughter fought back against her killer, noting she had "bruises" and had been "torn by the knife." "She's a tough kid," her dad says, calling his daughter a "really responsible" person who appeared to have a thriving relationship with 20-year-old boyfriend Ethan Chapin, who was also killed in the attack early Sunday. Jeffrey Kernodle notes that he last spoke to his daughter just hours before she was killed, around midnight, and that nothing seemed out of place during their conversation. "She was fine," he says.

  • Stacy and Jim Chapin, the parents of Ethan Chapin of Conway, Washington, tell KING 5 that they're still trying to wrap their heads around their son's murder. The Chapins say that Ethan was a triplet, and that his two brothers also attended the University of Idaho and had all celebrated their 20th birthdays just weeks ago. "We have these other two kids that are very impacted by this and they need to be lifted up and cared for," Stacy Chapin says. They say their late son was the comedian of the family, and that he loved country music, sports, and spending his time with girlfriend Kernodle. The Chapins had just visited the college earlier this month for parents' weekend. "As we pulled out of Moscow, we literally were like ... we've literally done it as parents. We've created three incredible humans that will go on and have something great to offer to the world," Stacy Chapin says.
  • Alivea Goncalves—the older sister of another victim, 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves of Rathdrum, Idaho, who lived with Kernodle and the fourth victim, 21-year-old Madison Mogen of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, in the house where the students were found—tells CNN that the girls "were smart, they were vigilant, they were careful and this all still happened."
  • Stacy Schriger, mom of Mogen's boyfriend, Jake Schriger, tells the New York Post she'd been looking forward to seeing Mogen, whom she called "the most beautiful person, inside and out," for the Thanksgiving holiday. "Her and Jake were like peanut butter and jelly."
  • No suspect or suspects are yet in custody, and Idaho State Police rep Aaron Snell tells ABC News that the two surviving female roommates haven't been ruled "in or out [as] suspects." "Potentially they are witnesses, potentially they are victims," Snell says, adding the roommates, who've been "very cooperative," may be "the key" to the case. Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt says all four victims were stabbed with a large knife, multiple times.
(More University of Idaho stories.)

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