Idaho cops have bagged the hands of the four University of Idaho students who were murdered in their sleep last month as they continue to try to track down the killer.
Authorities say the victims’ hands may contain evidence such as skin or hair under the fingernails if they tried to fight back against the unknown murderer who broke into their off-campus house in the early morning hours of November 13 and stabbed them to death.
Kaylee Goncalves, Maddie Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin may have even touched their assailants’ DNA if they made physical contact during the attack, forensic experts told FOX News Digital on Monday.
Although details of the crime scene remain scant, there is no suggestion the victims’ hands had been removed from their arms, as Latah County Coroner Cathy Mebbutt says the hands were sealed with bags before the bodies were moved.
The news comes as a former cop revealed online that he discovered a glove at the crime scene, and a retired Moscow police captain told DailyMail.com they believe the killer was seeking vengeance against at least one of the students.
Idaho cops bagged the hands of the four University of Idaho students murdered in their off-campus house last month in an effort to preserve evidence. Pictured: Victims Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Maddie Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and 20-year-old Ethan Chapin
Moscow police have said they have already secured the King Street home where the quadruple homicide took place, but it remains an active crime scene
The investigation into the four college students’ brutal deaths has now entered a fourth consecutive week without a suspect — but state and local authorities insist they are working to narrow down the investigation.
They told FOX News Digital that once they can determine whether any of the students’ hands has even the slightest of remnants of their assailants’ DNA they could search through national and state databases to find a match — though they said the process could take weeks.
As Idaho State Police Forensics Laboratory Systems Director Matthew Gamette explained: ‘DNA can be found in any kind of cellular material.’
He said investigators are trying to determine whether ‘someone’s hand touched a surface or handled a surface, or whether they’ve left blood, saliva — any kind of bodily fluids’ and then identify areas where there might be tissue or touch DNA.
‘And then we would be trying to develop DNA profiles from those surfaces, in the case of latent prints,’ Gamette said.
‘We might be working a room or a car or something of that nature to be able to develop latent prints or fingerprints from a person that are visible to the naked eye,’ he said.
‘And then we would be looking to either compare those to known individuals, or we would be looking to put them in a database to see if we can identify someone.’
Authorities have insisted that the attack was ‘targeted’ with a former police chief telling DailyMail.com on Monday they believe the perpetrator was seeking vengeance
Moscow Police Chief James Fry is pictured here assisting to remove the victims’ personal property from their King Street home
Kaylee and Madison were found on the top floor of the Moscow, Idaho home. Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were found in a second-floor bedroom while survivors Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke were sleeping on the first floor
Moscow police have said they have already secured the home on King Street and were able to remove the victims’ personal belongings, but the three-story home remains an active crime scene.
‘Generally what we’re looking to do is first to identify a potential suspect or suspects — potential perpetrators of a crime if there [are] not any,’ Gamette said. ‘There may be some already identified.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt revealed that the victims’ hands were bagged at the scene before their bodies were removed
‘And if that’s the case, then we’ll ask the officers to collect items from them that can be used to either match to their samples from the scene or to eliminate them as potential contributors of things like fingerprints and DNA.’
He said that if investigators do find DNA at the scene, police can run the information through the Idaho State Police database, as well as local and national databases in ‘an effort to try and identify a potential perpetrator.’
The entire process could take weeks, though, he said, and everything a scientist does must be reviewed by a second scientist ‘to make sure they arrive at the same conclusions.’
And to make matters more complicated, he said, the off-campus house likely has a lot of DNA specimens as it was home to five college girls and was known to be a party house.
‘If you found DNA specifically on the body or blood droplets in that crime scene, then you can look to get a DNA exemplar,’ Gamette said, adding: ‘The police department has its work cut out for it.’
Members of the Moscow Police Department and Idaho State Police are pictured last week collecting and removing the personal effects and property from the scene
They stacked up all of the personal effects they no longer need for evidence and carried them into a U-Haul driven by the police chief himself
Authorities say DNA may have been present on the scene on different surfaces, and forensics crews are now working to run any specimens through state and local databases
A yellow rose — the University of Idaho’s color — is seen laid out in a memorial in front of the three-story home
Still, experts say the fact that the Idaho State Police and Moscow authorities bagged the victims’ hands is a good sign that they know what they are doing and are taking the case seriously.
‘This is good crime scene protocol, which also they can say that if they did this right, then more than likely everything else was done right, too — which should allay some of the concerns from people,’ said Joseph Giacalone, a John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor and a retired NYPD sergeant.
‘When you have an up-close attack like this, the chances are good that the victim scraped at the face of the arms as they tried to defend themselves.
‘So this is an awesome development.’
But it comes as it was revealed a glove was still on the scene weeks after the Moscow police department cordoned off the home.
Former homicide detective Chris McDonough said in a video posted on YouTube that he had to point the glove out to detectives on the scene in late November,
‘I actually found the glove,’ he said. ‘I pointed it out to the officer who was there securing the scene and they came and collected it.
‘The officer that was there, obviously, they didn’t know about it because he came over and photographed it,’ McDonough told The Interview Room. ‘They came out and got it.’
He said he wondered whether the glove was left at the scene the night of November 13 or whether someone simply missed the trash can as they were walking by.
McDonough also questioned whether the suspect may be ‘taunting’ the authorities ‘by, you know, placing something like this hypothetically.’
The discovery of the glove, which is believed to have been discovered within the cordoned off area of the crime scene has now sparked new theories online, with one Internet sleuth writing: ‘I still can’t get over the fact that they disregarded that glove for several days.
‘It’s probably nothing,’ they wrote, according to the US Sun. ‘But you can see it in other news footage and the drone video shot prior to this one.’
The Moscow Police department has already been facing backlash as details about the quadruple homicide remain scant a full month after the murders
The Moscow Police department has already been facing backlash as details about the quadruple homicide remain scant a full month after the murders.
Kaylee’s father Steven Goncalves has publicly aired his frustrations over the bungled police investigation into the gruesome murder of his daughter, who was last week revealed to have suffered ‘significantly more brutal’ injuries than her three friends.
And on Monday, the bereaved dad shared new details of those injuries, revealing Kaylee had sustained ‘big open gouges’ and that the knife slashed open her liver and lungs, Fox News reported.
Goncalves said his daughter’s wounds ‘definitely did not match’ those of Mogen, who was found in the same bed as Kaylee, after asking the coroner how many times the victims were stabbed.
‘She says, “sir, I don’t think stabs is the right word, it was like tears, like this was a strong weapon, not like a stab”,’ he told the news outlet.
‘She said these were big open gouges. She said it was quick. These weren’t something where you were going to be able to call 911. They were not going to slowly bleed out.’
Based on the victims’ wounds, Goncalves said, the coroner’s office suspects the killer was likely a ‘strong individual’ however investigators have not determined the person’s gender.
He, however, believes it is most likely the work of a ‘sadistic male.’
‘It was a hell of a battle going on down there from what the coroner told us,’ he added.
‘I got outraged by them not just coming out and saying this was a woman or a man because they should know by the amount of strength it took to deliver the injuries.
‘They’re just being cowards. There are girls walking around the street right now that deserve to know. They should be looking out for a sadistic male,’ Goncalves said.
Authorities say Kaylee Goncalves and Maddie Mogen, both 21, had spent the evening visiting a sports bar and food truck, while Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, 20, had visited his fraternity house just a short walk away from her off-campus rental house where they were killed.
Kaylee’s father Steven Goncalves shared new details about the violent injuries his daughter sustained, revealing Kaylee had suffered ‘big open gouges’ and her wounds did not ‘match’ those of her friends
Meanwhile, Goncalves’ mother, Kristi, said she is looking to fundraise to help bring her daughter’s killer to justice.
‘Our family would like to fundraise in hopes to offer a reward, and possibly hire a private investigator if that becomes necessary,’ Kristi told Fox News Digital.
The family is using both GoFundMe and GiveSendGo to raise money for a reward and a private investigator.
Similar campaigns created in honor of Kernodle, Chapin, and Mogen have raised more than $160,000 cumulatively.
While speaking with Fox News Digital, the grieving mother said that in addition to raising money for the private investigator and reward, the family will also use a portion of any funds raised to pay for their daughter’s funeral services.
‘The money raised will go directly to getting us answers as well as helping to pay for Kaylee’s final arrangements and her celebration of life on Dec. 30,’ Kristi said.
As of Monday, the GiveSendGo fundraiser organized by a family friend had reached just over $5,000 of its $20,000.
‘Kaylee’s family deserves to know the truth about that dreadful night. They stress that this absolutely cannot become a cold case, so we need everyone who is on board with this, to donate here, in order to make sure this does not happen,’ the GiveSendGo campaign’s description reads.
Goncalves’ parents have now set up an online fundraiser to offer a reward for any information about their daughter’s killer
But police insist they have a lot of information about the case that they simply will not share with the public in order to secure a conviction when they do find the perpetrator.
In an update on YouTube, Police Captain Roger Lanier explained how ‘an army of analysts’ have spent hours sorting through tips and have even re-interviewed ‘some of the folks we’ve interviewed earlier in this investigation to clarify information.’
He added that the police department is working with the FBI to solve the case, and have investigators not only in Idaho, but also in Salt Lake City, Utah and in Virginia.
And, he said, the Moscow Police Department has been asking for information about a white Hyundai Elantra spotted near the scene of the murders because ‘we believe the occupant or occupants may have seen something. They may not have known they have seen something.’
Lanier continued to say: ‘We do have a lot of information and we are keeping that information safe,’
‘We’re not releasing specific details because we do not want to compromise this investigation.
‘It’s what we must do — we owe that to the families, and we owe that to the victims.’
In an update on YouTube, Police Captain Roger Lanier insisted the police department is going through a trove of tips but is not releasing any information to secure a conviction
He said they are looking for any information about a 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra with unknown plates, that was in the area of the murders on November 13, saying the occupant may have seen something relevant to the investigation
And retired Moscow police captain Paul Kwaitkowski, 64, also defended his former colleagues in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com.
He noted that the department consists mostly of young officers, many of whom leave Moscow early in their careers to pursue more action in bigger cities.
But, he said, they’re all highly trained and led by seasoned officers working in sync with state police and the FBI.
‘People are upset, people want to see things, people want to know things,’ he said.
‘If it was my daughter, yeah, I’d want to know right now,’ Kwaitkowski added. ‘But this is a tough case. The Moscow police are doing their best work right now.
Retired Moscow Police Captain Paul Kwaitkowski, 64, said it is likely the Idaho murderer knew at least one victim and may have been motivated by revenge
‘I think the police department holds back what they have, even what they know,’ he said.
‘Keeping it close to their chest is the most important thing they can do right now.’
Kwaitkowski went on to admit he doesn’t know what evidence the department has gathered, but he has resisted pumping his former colleagues for information on the investigation.
‘They’re playing it really, really tight,’ he said. ‘Bill Thompson is our county prosecutor. I’ve worked every case with Bill Thompson. He is one of the smartest men I know.
‘When Bill says ‘keep it tight,’ there’s something going on. And they’re not going to tease the public with, oh, this is what I’ve got.’
He said, though, he suspects the perpetrator knew at least one of the four victims and may have been seeking vengeance.
‘When you use the word “targeted,” it means somewhere along the line we met,’ Kwaitkoski said. ‘Somewhere along the line, something bad happened, something that pi***d someone off enough to go after these people.’
He admitted he doesn’t know who the target was, claiming there may have been multiple targets or just one, with the others serving as collateral damage.
‘Why they were targeted, nobody knows yet,’ he added. ‘That involves deciphering all the digital data that they’re going to have to go through.
‘You have 20 people looking at tens of thousands of pieces of information. That will lead them to something. But it’s going to take time,’ he said.
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health/university-of-idaho-murders-update-victims-hands-were-bagged-at-scene-to-preserve-evidence/ University of Idaho murders update: Victim’s hands were bagged at scene to preserve evidence