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Four University of Idaho students murdered, cause of death

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A University of Idaho student shared an eerie last message just hours before she and three friends were killed in a “crime of passion.”

Kaylee Goncalves, 21, was one of four people found dead in an off-campus apartment in Moscow, Idaho on Sunday.

The group’s deaths have been linked to “senseless violence,” and are being treated as an apparent homicide, The Sun reports.

In one haunting post shared just hours before they were killed, the four friends appeared blissfully unaware of their fate.

Captioning a selection of photos of them together on Saturday, Kaylee wrote: “One lucky girl to be surrounded by these people everyday.”

The pictures show victims Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, smiling and laughing with Kaylee and other friends outside.

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Ethan Chapin was a freshman and member of the Sigma Chi fraternity from Mount Vernon, Washington who was majoring in recreation, sport, and tourism management, college officials said.

He appeared to be dating Xana Kernodle – a junior from Post Falls, Idaho, who was majoring in marketing and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority with Madison Mogen.

Mogen, a senior from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was also majoring in marketing, while Kaylee was a senior general studies major from Rathdrum, Idaho and a member of the Alpha Phi sorority.

Mystery surrounds the deaths of the four students, although police said today they believed an “edged weapon such as a knife” was used.

Moscow Police Department said in its latest statement: “Although no weapons have been located, based on preliminary information, investigators believe that an edged weapon such as a knife was used.”

They said investigators believe this was “an isolated, targeted attack”

and will work to “re-create the victims’ activities on the evening of November 12 and early morning of November 13, following all leads and identifying persons of interest”.

The force added: “Autopsies are scheduled to be completed later this week and will hopefully provide more definitive information on the exact cause of the deaths.”

No arrests have been made, and investigators have not publicly identified any suspects.

Moscow Mayor Art Bettge called the deaths “senseless” and a “crime of passion” while echoing that little information can be released at this time.

“This tragedy serves as a sobering reminder that senseless acts of violence can occur anywhere, at any time, and we are not immune from such events here in our community,” he wrote.

“Today we grieve for those who were lost and those they leave behind.”

In a statement to KREM’s Janelle Finch, Kaylee’s family called their loved one “our defender and protector.”

And they added: “She did absolutely everything she set her mind to.

“She didn’t hold back on love, fights or life.”

Tributes also flooded in for the youngsters on Kaylee’s final post, with one person writing: “Rest in peace Kaylee, you are so so loved.”

Another said: “Rest easy pretty girls.”

Others said that they were praying for their families.

University of Idaho President Scott Green said: “Words cannot adequately describe the light these students brought to this world or ease the depth of suffering we feel at their passing under these tragic circumstances.

“No one feels that loss more than their families and friends.

“The university is working directly with those affected and is committed to supporting all students, families and employees as this event undeniably touches all of us.”

Police rushed to the property in Moscow, Idaho, shortly before midday Sunday.

The college town in north-central Idaho is home to roughly 25,435 residents.

Officers said that they were called in response to reports of an unconscious individual.

When they got to the apartment – just minutes from the university campus – they found four people dead inside.

The University of Idaho reported on the incident via Twitter, asking students to stay at their apartments while the situation was developing.

Classes were cancelled on Monday out of respect for the victims and counsellors have been made available to students.

Police are actively investigating the incident and said they do not believe there is an active threat at this time.

A candlelight vigil honoured the victims on Monday night with additional services planned later this week.

This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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