Police have identified the four University of Idaho students who were found dead Sunday at a home near the campus in Moscow, Idaho.
The Moscow Police Department called the deaths “homicide” and identified the victims Monday as Ethan Chapin, a 20-year-old from Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, a 21-year-old from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona; and Kaylee GonCalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho.
“Please respect the privacy of the victims’ families, friends and loved ones while the Moscow Police Department investigates this tragic event,” police said in a statement.
Moscow Police Department officials discovered the deaths while responding to a report of an unconscious person shortly before noon, according to a city press release.
Authorities did not release any further details, including the cause of death.
“Details are limited in this investigation. No one is currently in custody,” the police department said in a press release. “Moscow Police do not believe there is an ongoing risk to the community based on the information gathered during the preliminary investigation.”
Police said anyone with information should contact the department and asked that the privacy of victims’ families and friends be respected.
Brian Nickerson, the fire chief of the Moscow Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service, said police were the first to get to the house. Fire and EMS first responders did not go inside or transport anyone from the scene, Nickerson said.
“It is with deep sadness that I share with you that the University was informed today of the deaths of four University of Idaho students who live off campus and are believed to have been the victims of murder,” said University of Idaho President Scott Green , in a statement sent to Facebook Sunday evening. “Out of respect for these fellow vandals, classes nationwide and online are canceled on Monday, November 14.”
The university said student advisors would be available at the campus advisory center, while employees could access assistance through an employee assistance program. Green urged people to come forward if they were concerned about classmates or colleagues.
“An event of this magnitude can understandably have a significant impact on those left behind,” Green wrote. “As Vandals, we need to come together and lift each other up.”
Green added that the students’ families have been notified and the university “will continue to actively support law enforcement efforts.”
Shortly after the bodies were found, the university advised students to take shelter for about an hour until investigators determined there was no active threat to others in the area.
The Moscow Police Department said the investigation was ongoing and asked people with information to call the department at 208-882-2677.
The city of Moscow is a tight-knit college town nestled in the rolling hills of north-central Idaho about 80 miles southeast of Spokane, Washington.
Shortly after Moscow police announced the death investigation, University of Virginia students were also urged to protect themselves on the spot after police said awhen they returned from a school trip. Three members of the school’s football team were killed and two students injured in the shooting. The shooting sparked an intense manhunt on Sunday, and authorities announced Monday that a suspect, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., had been arrested.
The deaths at both universities prompted officials and other colleges to send messages of condolence.
“We were shocked to learn of the tragic death of four Uidaho students this weekend in Moscow. We mourn the lives lost and mourn with their families and the entire vandal community,” Boise State University wrote on Twitter Monday. “Our hearts also go out to the UVA community where violence has claimed three lives.”
US Representative Mike Simpson wrote on Twitter that he and his wife, Kathy Simpson, offer their deepest condolences to the families of the UI students.
“Our hearts ache for your loss,” Simpson wrote. “Today we are all vandals.”