Police in Moscow, Idaho, are probing a grainy video that shows two of the slain University of Idaho students ordering at a food truck just hours before they were found fatally stabbed along with their two housemates.
Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were captured on video walking up to the food truck on a busy street in Moscow around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, the Daily Mail reported. The footage, captured in a Twitch livestream by the food truck operator Grub Truckers and obtained by local TV station KHQ, shows a man wearing a jacket over a hoodie approach the food truck alongside the smiling students.
The unnamed man is seen hovering behind Goncalves and Mogen for most of the two-minute clip, flipping his cap forward and putting on his hood as they approach the stand. Over a dozen other seemingly young people are captured on the video, mostly chatting and joking as they wait for food.
A spokesperson from the Moscow Police Department police confirmed the video is part of their investigation and was from overnight Saturday but declined to release additional details. Police Chief James Fry said in a press conference Wednesday that the women had just left a downtown bar before they were captured on the Twitch stream.
Goncalves and Mogen, both 21, were found dead on Sunday morning along with their friends Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle, both 20, at their six-bedroom house just off campus. Fry said Kernodle and Chapin were together at a party on campus the night before their death.
Police have remained tight-lipped about the investigation, releasing a slow trickle of vague details about the slayings that have sent Moscow—a quiet college town of 25,000—into panic this week. No arrests have been made, and police have yet to publicly name a suspect.
The dearth of information has sent flocks of students fleeing town, despite police initially insisting that Sunday’s massacre was a targeted attack.
Chief Fry walked back his department’s stance on this by Wednesday, however, saying residents need to be “vigilant” and that a threat remains. He also conceded that he dropped the ball in keeping families and the public informed earlier this week.
“The reality is, I probably should have been standing here a day or so ago,” Fry said at a Wednesday press conference. “But I’m here now, we’re going to continue to be here, and we’re going to continue to give you the information we can.”
University of Idaho President Scott Green broke into tears as he spoke at Wednesday’s press conference, calling the killings “beyond comprehension.”
Moscow Mayor Art Bettge told The New York Times that the killings were a “crime of passion” but deferred all questions from The Daily Beast on Wednesday to the police department. When asked about the mayor’s earlier statement on Wednesday, Fry declined to say why Bettge suggested the crime was carried out by someone the students knew.
Fry said the group of friends was fatally stabbed sometime early Sunday, but a 911 call didn’t come until around noon. Responding officers arrived to an open front door, and Fry said there there was no evidence of forced entry. Nothing was stolen from the house.
Fry said there were two people inside the house when cops arrived on Sunday. He said they have been interviewed but declined to say if they had called 911. He emphasized that the roommates are not considered witnesses to the homicides.
Grieving families say they are now begging for answers from detectives, who’ve mostly left families in the dark about progress in the investigation.
“We are really just sitting in limbo,” Alivea Goncalves, Kaylee’s older sister, told The Daily Beast in a Facebook message on Wednesday.
Alivea Goncalves called her sister the “ultimate go-getter” and “ultimate middle child,” sandwiched between two older and two younger siblings. She had been a general studies student in Idaho but planned to start a tech job in Texas at the start of next year.
Just hours before she was killed, she had posted a series of photos smiling and embracing her closest friends, including Kernodle, Mogen, and Chapin.
Police said the killer stabbed each student with an “edged weapon such as a knife,” but the exact weapon used has not been recovered. The Latah County coroner was scheduled to complete autopsies on Wednesday.
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,” the The Spokesman-Review reported.
Steve Goncalves, Kaylee Goncalves’ father, said in a statement to The Daily Beast that he won’t rest until his daughter’s killer is found, calling the nameless perpetrator or perpetrators “sick, disgusting monsters.”
“Kaylee and Maddie should still be here with us,” he wrote. “This monster that took away their lives, and the lives of Xana and Ethan needs to be punished and held responsible… Myself and my family will not rest until Kaylee, Maddie, Xana, and Ethan get the justice they deserve.”
Maya Hippenstiel, who was close friends with Kernodle, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that her friend had the “biggest” and “best” personality—as did Chapin, who was Kernodle’s boyfriend.
Hippenstiel added that she’d become close with the entire friend group through Kernodle. She said Mogen was the cleverest person she knew, always quick to point out any time someone misspoke and turn it into a joke that made everyone laugh.
“Maddie was genuinely one of the funniest people I have ever met,” Hippenstiel said in an Instagram message to The Daily Beast. “On top of that she was really kind. Always willing to compliment you and mean it.”
With their loved ones gone, both Hippenstiel and Goncalves’ family said they want answers.
“I want to know that my daughter is safe wherever she is,” said Steve Goncalves. “I want to never have someone experience what I am—and the rest of my family is experiencing right now.”