Skagit County man among those killed in University of Idaho murders

CONWAY, Wash. — A 20-year-old man from rural Skagit County has been identified as one of the four students found murdered in a house near the University of Idaho campus.

Ethan Chapin was raised in Conway, Washington. He was a freshman student majoring in recreation, sport and tourism management.

Investigators believe Chapin and three other University of Idaho students were killed by “an edged weapon such as a knife,” according to police.

Authorities did not immediately find the weapon used.

“Autopsies are scheduled to be completed later this week and will hopefully provide more definitive information on the exact cause of death,” officials said Tuesday in a news release.

Police said they were called at around 12 p.m. Sunday to a report of an unconscious person on King Road in Moscow, Idaho. When they arrived, they found Chapin and three other students dead.

Moscow police have been tight-lipped in their investigation but gave more details about what happened at a press conference Wednesday.

“We have a lot of information coming in ... but the reality is I probably should’ve been standing here a day or so ago. But I’m here now, so we’re going to continue to be here. We’re going to continue to give you the information we can,” said Moscow police chief James Fry. “We care about this community. I care about this community.”

Police say Chapin and Xana Kernodle were last seen at a house party on campus.

The two other victims, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, were out at a bar at the time. They were last seen alive in a video shared by police that shows them standing at a food truck.

Investigators say that video has been key in helping to establish a timeline of what happened that night.

The four victims all got home sometime after 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning.

Police say they were stabbed to death in those early morning hours.

When officers responded to the home later that day, they said there were no signs of a break-in.

Police initially said there was no imminent threat to the community there, but without a suspect in custody, they’re now saying they can’t rule that out.

“We do not have a suspect at this time, and that individual is still out there,” said Fry. “We cannot say there is no threat to the community – as we have stated, please stay vigilant, report any suspicious activity and beware of your surroundings at all times.”

But, police continue to call this an isolated and targeted attack.

Those who knew Chapin say he was always upbeat and always motivated, especially when it came to playing basketball.

“He was really tall, and he was tall early, so that’s what (everyone) wanted to talk to him about,” said Dr. Chris Pearson, former superintendent of the Conway School District.

Pearson says he got to know Chapin, especially when it came to playing basketball together.

“We played alumni/student basketball games, and that was always fun, because we could talk trash and challenge each other and play,” Pearson told KIRO 7, adding that Chapin’s death had devastated people across Skagit County.

Among those shocked and saddened is Justin Sheridan, owner of the main restaurant in Conway.

“We’re all connected, so it’s hard to believe, honestly,” he said.

According to Sheridan, Chapin was born a triplet.

He said he is heartbroken, not only for Chapin’s siblings, but also for Chapin’s mother.

“I can’t imagine how she feels right now. (It) just has to be terrible,” said Sheridan.

Community members held a candlelight vigil to remember Chapin on Wednesday and a small memorial remained on the Mount Vernon Boardwalk after friends and family had left for the evening.

A GoFundMe started on behalf of Chapin’s family has raised over $25,000 as of Wednesday night.

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