The grieving father of one of the four slain University of Idaho students has revealed that his daughter died in the same bed as her life-long best friend.
Steve Goncalves, whose 21-year-old daughter Kaylee Goncalves was stabbed to death back on 13 November, gave a heartbreaking speech at a vigil for the victims on Wednesday evening, where he said it gave him comfort to learn that she was with best friend Madison Mogen until the very end.
Mr Goncalves told how the “absolutely beautiful” young women first met in sixth grade and became inseparable.
“They just found each other, and every day they did homework together, they came to our house together, they shared everything,” he said.
“Then they started looking at colleges, they came here together. They eventually get into the same apartment together.
“And in the end, they died together, in the same room, in the same bed.”
Authorities previously revealed that two of the victims were found on the third floor and the other two on the second floor of the third-storey home.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said the victims were attacked in their beds and were “likely” sleeping when the killer struck – with Mr Goncalves’ comments revealing for the first time that the two best friends were found together.
The devastated father, whose family also saw Mogen as a daughter, said that while “it hurts”, there is some “beauty” in knowing that the pair were together when they died.
“The beauty of the two always being together is something that will – it comforts us, it lets us know that they were with their best friends in the whole world,” he said.
“It’s like a book, it’s like some kind of terrible chapter but there’s beauty in it.”
Mr Goncalves vowed to get “justice” for all four victims – Goncalves, Mogen, their housemate Xana Kernodle and Kernodle’s boyfriend Ethan Chapin.
“We’re gonna get our justice, we’re gonna figure this stuff out. This community deserves that,” he said.
Mogen’s father Ben Mogen also spoke at the vigil, sharing his happiest memory with his daughter when they went to a Mac Miller concert together.
“That was the happiest memory I could think of that we shared together,” he said, describing his daughter as “smart and funny and beautiful” and “just nice to everybody”.
Chapin’s mother Stacy Chapin urged attendees to savour the precious time they have with their loved ones as she vowed to continue “Ethan’s legacy”.
“We are eternally grateful that we spent so much time with him. And I want to remind you, that that’s the most important message that we have for you and your families, is to 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,” she said.
The vigil was attended by a huge crowd of students and Moscow residents grieving the first murder the small, college town has seen in seven years.
Concerns had been raised in the run-up to the event that the killer or killers might show up at the vigil – as, 18 days into the investigation, no arrests have been made, no suspects identified and the murder weapon has not been found.
On Wednesday, investigators sparked confusion about the case as they appeared to walk back their claim that one or more of the victims was “targeted” in the brutal attack and accused the local prosecutor of “miscommunication”.
Ever since the four students were stabbed to death back on 13 November, investigators have described the attacks as “targeted”.
They have used the phrase in multiple press conferences and media interviews but have refused to reveal what has led them to that conclusion or whether only one of the victims was the intended target – with the others simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In the early days of the investigation, Moscow Police even went as far as to insist that there was “no ongoing threat” to the wider community – despite having no suspect even on their radar.
Three days on from the killing, they then walked back that assertion, admitting that – with the perpetrator still at large – “there is a threat” and urging the public to stay “vigilant”.
Then, in the last press conference given last week, Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier doubled down on the victims being “targeted” and told the public that “you’re going to have to trust us on that”.
This week, Latah County prosecutor Bill Thompson gave conflicting statements about the nature of the crime.
On Tuesday, he appeared to walk back the belief that the killings were targeted, saying that it was “perhaps not the best word to use”.
On Wednesday, he gave a different interview where he said that the “attack was intended for a specific person”.
Hours later, Moscow Police released a “clarification” on their Facebook page – which only added to the confusion and continued to contradict earlier statements from officials.
In it, police said that “detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted” and said that Mr Thompson’s comments were the result of “miscommunication”.
Officials are hoping that a break will finally come in the case as the first crime scene lab results have started to come back – more than two weeks on from the quadruple murders.
Idaho State Police Communications Director Aaron Snell told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that investigators were starting to receive the results from forensic testing.
“I do know that each type of testing… some take longer than others. And I also do know that there have been results that have been returned and those go directly to the investigators, so that way they can help, again, paint that picture as we keep talking about,” he said.
Mr Snell refused to reveal whether DNA that did not belong to the four victims or the two surviving roommates had been found at the crime scene as it is hoped that the forensics could finally provide some clues to lead police to the killer.
Despite the lack of concrete leads in the case to date, police are wrapping up the investigation at the three-storey home on King Road where the brutal murder took place.
The four victims are believed to have been stabbed to death in their beds at around 3am or 4am on 13 November with a fixed-blade knife, police said. There was no signs of sexual assault on any of the victims and the murder weapon has not been recovered.
Two of the victims were found on the second floor and two on the third floor of the home.
Kernodle and Chapin were at a sorority party at Sigma Chi house together and arrived back at the home at around 1.45am.
Goncalves and Mogen had spent the night at The Corner Club bar in downtown Moscow, before stopping by a food truck and then getting a ride home from an unnamed “private party”.
Investigators previously said that the two best friends also arrived home at around 1.45am but updated the timeline on Sunday to reveal that they arrived at the property at around 1.56am, citing “digital evidence”.
Two surviving roommates were also out that night and arrived home at around 1am, police said. The two women, who lived in rooms on the first floor of the home, are believed to have slept through the brutal killings and were unharmed.
The horrific crime scene went unnoticed for several more hours, with police receiving a 911 call at 11.58am on Sunday, reporting an “unconscious individual” at the home.
The two other roommates had first called friends to the home because they believed one of the second floor victims was unconscious and would not wake up. When the friends arrived, a 911 call was made from one of the roommates’ phones.
Police arrived on the scene to find the four victims dead from multiple stab wounds.
Investigators have ruled out several people as suspects: the two surviving housemates, the man who was caught on camera with Mogen and Goncalves at a food truck in the downtown area before they headed home on the night of the slayings, the person who gave Mogen and Goncalves a ride home from the food truck, Goncalves’ former long-term boyfriend and the friends who were in the home when the 911 call was made have all been ruled out as suspects.
But with officials admitting that they still don’t have a person of interest or suspect on their radar, the small college town is racked by fear.
Police revealed there has been a surge in 911 calls in the aftermath of the murders, with terrified residents reporting multiple sightings of “suspicious people” as well as concerning incidents around the town.