Detectives investigating the mysterious stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students are thought to be searching for a “Rambo”-style knife.
Scott Jutte, the general manager of a building supply store in Moscow, Idaho, told the Idaho Statesman that detectives have repeatedly visited his store to ask if he’d sold Ka-Bar brand knives, which are also known as K-bar knives, to anyone in town.
Jutte said he wasn’t much help to detectives because his home-improvement store doesn’t sell the brand, which was once used by American troops in combat during World War II.
Despite not carrying the blades, Jutte told the paper he was familiar with Ka-Bar knives, which are typically around 6-inches long and “similar to the knife Rambo has.”
Jutte told the Statesman that Ka-Bar knives typically have a blade on one side and a serrated edge on the other—a modification not needed for hunting, which is the type of knives sold by Moscow Building Supply, where he works.
The Latah County Coroner’s Office said this week that the slain students appeared to have been brutally stabbed to death, but Moscow police have yet to find the weapon used or the person behind the quadruple homicide.
As authorities continue to investigate, panic has enveloped Moscow as residents fear a second attack.
Police initially insisted that residents had nothing to fear because Sunday’s massacre was an isolated incident. But Moscow’s police chief, James Fry, reversed that stance on Wednesday, saying in a press conference that a threat will remain until an arrest has been made.
Police identified the victims on Monday as Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona ; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho.
Kernodle, Mogen, and Goncalves were roommates in a six-bedroom house just blocks away from campus. Their lifeless bodies, along with Chapin, were found inside the house around noon on Sunday after cops received a 911 call about an unconscious person. Social media posts in the group’s final days suggested they were all good friends.
“One lucky girl to be surrounded by these ppl everyday 🤍,” Goncalves wrong in an Instagram post that includes photos of all four victims just hours before their death.
Details about the massacre have remained vague from local police, who’ve released a slow trickle of information since the weekend.
The latest details emerged Wednesday, when Fry said that two additional roommates were inside the home during the alleged attack early Sunday morning but weren’t injured.
The chief did not name the roommates or indicate why a 911 call didn’t come until noon, which police say was hours after the slayings occurred. Fry said the roommates were interviewed by police and are not considered witnesses to the crime.
Video from a Twitch stream and Wednesday’s press conference painted a picture of how the friend group spent their final hours alive.
The Twitch video, recorded by a food truck and obtained by local TV station KHQ, captured Mogen and Goncalves order food while surrounded by other young people overnight Saturday. Police said Wednesday that the video is part of their investigation, which includes retracing the friend’s final moments alive.
Fry said Mogen and Goncalves had been at a bar in Moscow’s downtown on Saturday night. Kernodle and Chapin, who were dating, spent their final night together at an on-campus party, Fry said.
Autopsies were conducted on Wednesday but authorities have not released their findings to the public. Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said Tuesday that there “was a lot of blood,” and the house where the bodies were found was a “very sad scene,” reported The Spokesman-Review.
Chief Fry acknowledged Wednesday that his department should’ve been more forthcoming in releasing details about the massacre earlier this week. All future updates, however, will now come from the Iowa State Patrol, who is aiding the investigation along with the FBI, Fry said.