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'A very sad scene' | Latah County Coroner says all 4 U of I students are homicide victims

Cathy Mabbutt says the victims did not die from a murder-suicide and does not think toxicology reports will be relevant in the cause and manner of death.

MOSCOW, Idaho — Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt told KREM 2 on Tuesday that all four University of Idaho students found dead in a near-campus home are homicide victims.

Mabbutt, who has served as the coroner for 16 years, said she learned about the situation shortly after noon on Sunday after police responded to the home on King Road. She did not go to the home until 5:30 p.m. that day to allow police to do their investigation.

"It was a very sad scene with four murdered college students," she recalled.

Mabbutt confirmed the students were killed with a sharp object, but did not specify what the object was. She said she will know more after the autopsies are conducted on Wednesday, but she does not believe it was a murder-suicide.

Post autopsy, Mabbutt said she will be responsible for determining the cause and manner of death for all four victims. She said she does not believe toxicology reports will be relevant in the actual cause of death in this case.

Mabbutt said this is not the first homicide case she has been involved in.

"Since I've been coroner, there have been at least two other multiple homicide scenes that I've been involved in," she said. "It's the only one I've been to where there have been four people at one scene. The other ones have had multiple scenes."

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, the Moscow Police Department (MPD) held a press conference with Idaho State Police and University of Idaho President C. Scott Green to provide more information on the investigation into the homicide.

According to police, early in the evening, victims Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were at a party on campus away from the crime scene. Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were at a bar, and came home at 1:45 a.m.

When police arrived on scene for a wellness check, officers found four victims and other people who were not hurt. Officers say there were no signs of forced entry into the residence. When police arrived, the door was still open.

Police are still saying that this was an isolated, targeted attack. The suspect is still on the loose. They also can't say there's no threat to the community. There was no attempt at robbery. Officers did not reveal who the 911 caller was.

Moscow Police don't know an accurate timeline of where the victims were before their deaths. The location of the weapon at this time is unknown.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Moscow Police at 208-883-7054.

The University of Idaho said a vigil for the students, which was scheduled for Wednesday night, was rescheduled for Nov. 30.

Watch the full interview with the coroner using the player below:

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