Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told NBC News that the autopsies for Ethan Chapin, 20; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Madison Mogen, 21, were completed on November 16. Mabbutt told the outlet that the autopsies narrowed the timeline for when the four friends were killed and what kind of weapon was used in the murder.
“It would have been early in the morning, sometime after 2 a.m., but still during the night,” Mabbutt said.
She added that there wasn’t any medical way to determine which of the four was attacked first, so that will be up to the police, who are “trying to put timelines together with other text messages and other technology.”
Mabbutt described the murder weapon as “a bigger knife” that would be consistent with the “pretty extensive” wounds found on the students. She wouldn’t say how many times each student was stabbed, but she indicated it was multiple times and that each student was stabbed a different amount of times and in different places on their bodies. She also said the victims had a “little bit of bruising” but “nothing significant,” adding that such bruising “wouldn’t be uncommon during a stabbing.”
The coroner also told NBC that DNA samples were taken from the scene and that some of it may not belong to the four victims.
“There were nail clippings that were taken, and other ones that are being sent off, and so that will be processed,” Mabbutt told the outlet.
She added that she hadn’t seen anything like the scene at the house in Moscow.
“It’s pretty traumatic when there’s four dead college students … who’ve been stabbed to death in one location,” she said.
“I’ve been coroner for 16 years … we have had multiple (victim) murders in the past, but nothing, nothing like this,” she added.
For the first few days after the bodies were found, police said there was no ongoing threat to the community. That changed on Wednesday, when Moscow Police Chief James Fry reversed course and acknowledged that there may be a threat to the community since the police still do not have a person of interest connected to the slayings.
“We cannot say that there is no threat to the community,” Fry said at the press conference. “There is a threat out there, possibly.”
Fry also said that there were two other roommates at the house when the killings occurred, but they were not injured or taken hostage. He noted that, currently, there is no person of interest in the case.
The two surviving roommates did not witness the crime, which Fry said happened in the “early morning” hours. Police were not called until just before noon, and the two other roommates were still in the house when police arrived to investigate.
“We need to be vigilant. We need to watch out for our neighbors,” Fry said. “We need to continue to do that until we can close this off and make an arrest.”
Fry noted on Wednesday that the students were stabbed with a knife that has not been found yet, there were no signs of forced entry into the home, and no signs of a robbery.
The police chief also provided a known timeline for the homicide, saying that two of the victims, 20-year-old Ethan Chapin and 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, were at an on-campus party earlier in the evening, while Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen, each 21, went to a bar downtown.
The group reportedly arrived back at the house “sometime after 1:45 a.m.,” Fry said, adding that the call about an “unconscious person” came in more than 10 hours later. It was that 911 call that led police to discover the bodies.