Victims’ families urge love, kindness as Idaho campus mourns


As hundreds of students mourned together inside the University of Idaho’s stadium Wednesday night, family members of four slain classmates urged them to raise their eyes from grief and focus on love and the future.

Four Dead University of Idaho People attend a vigil at the University of Idaho Boise Campus, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in downtown Boise, Idaho, to honor the four students killed in Moscow, Idaho, earlier this month.

Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP

Four Dead University of Idaho After lighting candles, people gather at the University of Idaho Boise Campus, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in downtown Boise, Idaho, to honor the four students killed in Moscow, Idaho, earlier this month.

Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP

Four Dead University of Idaho Idaho State Police Trooper Brandalyn Crapo stands guard on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022 as she works near the podium at a vigil for the four University of Idaho students who were killed on Nov. 13, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho C. Scott Green, the president of the University of Idaho, walks to the podium, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, before speaking at a vigil for the four University of Idaho students who were killed on Nov. 13, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho Bracelets with the names of the four University of Idaho students who were killed on Nov. 13, 2022, are displayed on a table at a vigil for the victims, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho Flowers, a stuffed animal, and a framed image featuring the photos of the four people found dead at a house on Nov. 13, 2022 in Moscow, Idaho, rest in the snow in front of the house on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. The university will be holding a system-wide vigil, Wednesday evening, Nov. 30, 2022 in memory of the students, as investigators continue to look for a suspect and motive in the killings.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

APTOPIX Four Dead University of Idaho A person attending a vigil for the four University of Idaho students who were killed on Nov. 13, 2022, cries as she listens to family members talk about the victims, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho A person attending a vigil for the four University of Idaho students who were killed on Nov. 13, 2022, cries as she listens to family members talk about the victims, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho A photo of Maddie Mogen, who was one of four University of Idaho students killed on Nov. 13, 2022, is shown as her father, Ben Mogen, speaks on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, during a vigil for the four students in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho Stacy Chapin talks about her son, Ethan Chapin, who was one of four University of Idaho students who were killed on Nov. 13 as she speaks Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, during a vigil for the four students in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho Steve Goncalves talks about his daughter, Kaylee Goncalves, who was one of four University of Idaho students who were killed on Nov. 13, 2022, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, during a vigil for the four students in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho A flyer seeking information about the killings of four University of Idaho students who were found dead on Nov. 13, 2022, is displayed on a table along with buttons and bracelets, Wednesday, Nov. 30 during a vigil in memory of the victims in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho People attending a vigil for the four University of Idaho students who were killed on Nov. 13, 2022, fill the Kibbie Dome before the start of the event, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho People attending a vigil for the four University of Idaho students who were killed on Nov. 13, 2022, stand in the Kibbie Dome as family members talk about their loved ones, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho FILE – Two people place flowers at a growing memorial in front of a campus entrance sign for the University of Idaho on Nov. 16, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho. In a normal year, University of Idaho students would be bustling between the classes and the library, cramming for finals and looking forward to winter break. But on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, a little less than half the students appear to have switched to online classes after four of their classmates were brutally murdered.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

Four Dead University of Idaho FILE – A photo and the names of four University of Idaho students who were killed over the weekend at a residence near campus are displayed during a moment of silence, Nov. 16, 2022, before an NCAA college basketball game in Moscow, Idaho. The Moscow Police Department has yet to name a person of interest in the stabbing deaths of the students .

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

Four Dead University of Idaho People attending a vigil for the four University of Idaho students who were killed on Nov. 13, 2022, stand in the Kibbie Dome as family members talk about their loved ones, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Four Dead University of Idaho FILE – A photo and the names of four University of Idaho students who were killed over the weekend at a residence near campus are displayed during a moment of silence, Nov. 16, 2022, before an NCAA college basketball game in Moscow, Idaho. The Moscow Police Department has yet to name a person of interest in the stabbing deaths of the students .

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — As hundreds of students mourned together inside the University of Idaho’s stadium Wednesday night, family members of four slain classmates urged them to raise their eyes from grief and focus on love and the future.

“The only cure to pain is love — it’s the only thing that’s going to to heal us; it’s the only thing that’s going to heal you,” Steve Goncalves, the father of Kaylee Goncalves, told the crowd gathered at the vigil. “That will make a difference, and that’s something they can see where they’re at right now: That you changed your life a little bit, that you’re a little bit nicer, a little bit kinder.”

Some in the crowd held each other and wiped their eyes as they remembered Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Kernodle’s boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20, of Mount Vernon, Washington. The four were stabbed to death Nov. 13 at a rental home near campus in the quiet university town of Moscow, Idaho, and law enforcement has yet to name a person of interest in the case. Fears that the killer could strike again has prompted many students to finish the semester by taking online classes from the perceived safety of their hometowns.

As a result, similar scenes played out across the state as simultaneous candlelight vigils were held in multiple cities. In downtown Boise, several hundred people cupped their hands around candle flames outside a University of Idaho’s building. High schools in some cities lit up their athletic fields in a sign of solidarity. Homeowners were urged to leave their porch lights on as a gesture of support.

Ben Mogan, Madison’s father, told the crowd in Moscow that she was his only child, so “everything she ever did was such a big deal.” Talking about “Maddie,” was his pride, Mogan said, and the two loved attending music concerts together.

“When I would meet people ever since she was first born, and they would say, ‘Tell me about yourself,’ the first thing I would say is, ‘I have this daughter — here’s a picture of her, she’s on the dean’s list at college, she works hard, she has all these friends at her sorority,’” Mogan said.

Madison’s best friend was Kaylee. The girls met as sixth graders, Kaylee’s father Goncalves told the crowd, and were inseparable friends from that moment on.

“They went to high school together, then they started looking at colleges, they came here together. They eventually got into the same apartment together,” Steve Goncalves said. “And in the end, they died together, in the same room, in the same bed.”

“It’s a shame and it hurts, but the beauty of the two always being together comforts us,” he said.

Xana Kernodle’s family was unable to attend the vigil.

Ethan Chapin’s mother, Stacy Chapin, fought back tears as she said she was there with her husband and with Ethan’s triplet brother and sister.

Like other families, the Chapin family always tried to eat dinner together when time allowed and spent countless hours taking the kids to various sporting events when they were younger. The triplets chose the University of Idaho because they wanted a small town and a beautiful campus with a thriving Greek system, she said.

Now, despite the terrible circumstances of Ethan’s death, the family is “eternally grateful that we spent so much time with him,” Chapin said.

“That’s the most important message we have for you and your families — it’s make sure that you spend as much time as possible with those people, because time is precious and it’s something you can’t get back,” Chapin said.

Little new information has been released about the investigation into the killings. A county coroner said the four were likely asleep when they were attacked. Investigators have yet to find the fixed-blade knife used in the killings.

Gov. Brad Little announced last week that he was directing up to $1 million in state emergency funds for the investigation. The FBI has assigned 44 people to the case — half of them stationed in Moscow — and the Idaho State Police has 15 troopers helping with community patrols and another 20 investigators working the case.

Local law enforcement agencies have seen an uptick in calls reporting suspicious behavior.

“We understand there is a sense of fear in our community,” the Moscow Police Department wrote on Nov. 27. Since the killings, the number of people requesting welfare checks, in which an officer is sent to check on a person’s wellbeing, has doubled.

The university has also seen an increase in people calling its “Vandal Care” phone line to report that they were struggling or worried someone else was struggling with an issue, the university’s Dean of Students Blaine Eckles said earlier on Wednesday.

“While I personally am very confident that the police will resolve (the deaths), until that happens, no one is resting easy,” he said. “There’s someone out there that took the lives of four of our Vandals, and we don’t know who they are. We don’t know where they are.”

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