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'A healing step': University of Idaho murder victims memorialized

University of Idaho wants the community and students to collaborate in the design of the slain college students' Vandal Healing Garden and Memorial.

Kara Valentine

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Published: 4:51 PM PDT May 22, 2023
Updated: 7:09 PM PDT May 22, 2023

The prime murder suspect in the slayings of four University of Idaho students appeared in court Monday. Meanwhile, the university is laying the groundwork for a path to healing.

On Nov. 13, 2022, four University of Idaho (U of I) Vandals - Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves - were killed in an off-campus house.

The man accused of stabbing and killing the four U of I students appeared in a Latah County Courtroom early Monday morning. Where he stood silent during his plea, resulting in a "not guilty" plea being entered on his behalf.

"From the day we learned of the senseless deaths...the outpouring of support from our Vandal Family has been tremendous," University of Idaho President Scott Green wrote. "Everywhere I turn, people are asking what they can do to help."

In an email sent to students and employees on Feb. 24, 2023, Green communicated the university's objective to promote healing in the community of Moscow, following the murders.

"What resulted is an incredible display of what it means to be a Vandal. The compassion, tenacity and resilience of our community shows in the generous actions," said Green.

Green's initial plan for the property included the demolition of the house where the students were killed.

The owner of the King Street house intended to give the house to the university. Which planned to then demolish the house and establish a memorial for the students on the property.

"This is a healing step and removes the physical structure where the crime that shook our community was committed," Green wrote. "Demolition also removes efforts to further sensationalize the crime scene."

However, the plan to demolish the house has since been revoked, at least as a temporary delay until the trial and court proceedings have concluded.

As of Monday, the planning and arrangements for the Vandal Healing Garden and Memorial had begun. The university launched their plan for the Healing Garden and Memorial (VHGM) with the unique collaborative effort of allowing for students and community members to be involved in the development, design and concept of the memorial.

U of I said that the memorial will include a permanent feature honoring Xana, Ethan, Madison and Kaylee, as well as a garden space for "quiet reflection, remembrance and honor for all."

Credit: University of Idaho

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