The family of Xana Kernodle, one of the four University of Idaho students killed in a violent quadruple homicide nearly six weeks ago, has mailed out 5,000 flyers to homes in and around the city of Moscow pleading for people to come forward with any information or video they have that could provide clues.
This is the second time Kernodle’s family has made flyers. The first batch was released one week after the murders, on Nov. 20. These posters were handed out door-to-door and posted around town, but mailing the new flyers is expected to reach more people where they live.
The killings of Kernodle, her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, and Kernodle’s roommates, Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, has left their families searching for answers and grieving the lives of four young people who were stabbed to death as they slept in the early morning hours of November 13.
The posters show photos of Kernodle, Chapin, Mogen and Goncalves and include information about the tipline and how people can submit video and photo evidence to the FBI. Sixty FBI agents and analysts have been assisting the Moscow police with the investigation along with Idaho State Police.
“We think it’s very important, and we appreciate that support from the family,” said Aaron Snell, public information officer for the Idaho State Police and spokesperson for Moscow Police, in an interview with Law&Crime this week.
Snell reiterated the family’s plea that video and photo evidence be submitted for review by detectives and agents assigned to the case.
“We want additional leads as well,” Snell continued. “Anybody that had looked at some of their past social media posts or past pictures and and think something’s out of the ordinary, something’s odd, we want that information,” Snell continued. “I think we’ve been consistent in saying that. The activity that might have been done within those pictures or those videos that people may or may not want to submit to the police — that’s not what we’re interested in. We’re interested in the context of the crime. That way, we can piece together aspects of this case, we get a better picture.”
The homicides sent shockwaves through the city of Moscow and caused some University of Idaho students to either flee the campus or opt to finish the semester online. Snell said no suspects have been identified, despite hundreds of interviews being conducted. Police are following leads through nearly 15,000 tips that have been submitted. Agents and investigators are also combing through thousands of pieces of video and other evidence submitted to police as they search for any clues that could lead to a break in the case.
Some have raised concerns that the case is going “cold.” However, Moscow Police Chief James Fry has said that is not the case.
Veteran retired Houston Police Homicide Detective Fil Waters took issue with claims the case is cold in an interview with Law&Crime’s Sidebar podcast.
“There’s a criteria with which you name a case a cold case,” Waters said. “I think people are just using that terminology, a lot of the the media uses that terminology, because it sounds, you know, sophisticated.”
Waters investigated high-profile homicide cases for 33 years. He explained when and how a case is labeled “cold.”
“We had to have a case for three years and had to have had all active leads exhausted, where we’ve just hit the wall and there is nothing left that we can do,” Waters said.
“I wish that would quit being thrown out there. Because that’s not a good thing for the families,” Waters continued.”They need to be more encouraged about what law enforcement is doing and what they’re accomplishing at this point, and again we’re hoping and praying that they get a suspect.”
Meanwhile, Snell said detectives have yet to identify a suspect or suspects in the case. He said the picture of what happened that night is becoming more clear through interviews and results from the crime lab, but he would not elaborate.
Snell did say that police are still sorting through registrations for nearly 22,000 white Hyundai Elantra vehicles between the years of 2011 and 2013.
Police have said a car matching that description was in the “immediate area” of the crime scene at the time of the killings and that they are “confident” the person or people in the car that night have information about what happened. Snell would not say how close the vehicle was to the home on King Rd., but another spokesperson told media last week the car was “there.”
Earlier this week, Moscow Police said they were looking at a white Elantra found with front-end damage and no license plates on a street corner in Eugene, Oregon. Police investigated and found the car was registered out of Colorado and ruled out the female owner having any connection to the case.
Anyone with information about the violent homicides can call Moscow Police at 208-883-7180. Tips can also be submitted by email to [email protected] and video evidence can be uploaded at fbi.gov/moscowidaho.
Kernolde’s family has also established a scholarship in her name at the University of Idaho. Donations may be made online.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]