By: Libby Sanchez & Carol
Picture posted by Kaylee Goncalves just hours before the murders took place.
On November 13th, 4 students were found dead, appearing to be brutally murdered by stabbing. Xana Kernodle (20), Kaylee Goncalves (21), and Madison Mogen (21) were all roommates, along with two others, Bethany Funke (21) and Dylan Mortensen (21). The roommates all lived together in a house shortly off the University of Idaho campus. Madison and Kaylee grew up together, having been best friends since the 6th grade and chose to go to college together. They were supposed to graduate this year. All five roommates were a close-knit group, a group now known around the world for their bond. Lives everyone knew too late, but lives lived to the fullest everyday if their posts on instagram and tiktok are anything to go by. In multiple videos and pictures, the girls are together cracking jokes and having a good time. It’s a tragedy that life was taken from them so soon.
At 8:57pm on November 12th, just hours before the murder, Kaylee posted a series of happy pictures with her roommates and Ethan Chapin (20), another victim of the murders, who was dating Xana. Kaylee captioned the post, “One lucky girl to be surrounded by these ppl everyday.” Appearing to be a very happy friend group, living under one roof, enjoying what was left of their college years. That night, Madison and Kaylee hung out at Corner Club, a downtown bar, while Ethan and Xana went to a local party. At 1:41am, Kaylee and Madison were captured on a twitch livestream at a food truck downtown, grabbing a bite to eat and taking pictures before heading home for the night. A sorority driving service got Madison and Kaylee home at 1:56am, and Ethan and Xana returned home at about 1:45am, just about 10 minutes prior. The four victims were stabbed to death with a fixed knife blade between 4am and 4:25 am on the second and third floors of the home. Police later found records of Xana retrieving a doordash order at the house at about 4am. Of the surviving roommates, Dylan states she had woken up around 4am in the morning to what sounded like Kaylee playing with her dog, which seemed to have happened very often. After being woken up, Dylan claims she heard Kaylee say something to the effect of “there’s someone here.” More records were later discovered and it was shown that it could have been mistaken for Xana on her phone, as records show she was on tiktok around 4:12am, shortly after receiving her doordash order. After hearing what she thought was Kaylee saying this, Dylan looked out of her bedroom and saw nothing out of the ordinary, then returned back to her room. A few minutes passed when Dylan claims she looked out of her room for a second time after hearing crying coming from Xana’s room. She then heard a male voice saying something to the effect of “it’s okay, I’m going to help you.” Shortly after, she saw a man dressed in all black walk past her open bedroom door where she watched. She stood, frozen in complete shock, as she watched a man she didn’t recognize, walk towards the house’s sliding glass door. At 4:17am, a security camera near Xana’s room picked up audio of Kaylee’s barking dog and what sounded like voices and whimpers followed by loud thuds. The morning of November 13th, surviving housemates Bethany and Dylan called friends over to inspect what they thought was their roommates passed out on the second floor of the house. At 11:58 am on November 13th, a 911 call was made for an unconscious person.
When responding officers arrived at the scene, the four victims were found. At the time of the 911 call, the surviving suspects nor their friends were suspected to be involved in the horrifying murders. After many trial and error suspects, most of them being cleared, a surveillance camera was inspected where authorities picked up on a significant lead. It was seen in the footage that Brian Kohberger’s white Hyundai Elantra drove by the victim’s house four times around 4:04 am on the morning of November 13th. It was later uncovered that Kohberger turned his phone off between the hours 2am and 5am in order to attempt to hide his location during the time the murders took place. Phone records also revealed he returned to the house a fifth time just after 9am, 5 hours after the murders took place. Months before the murders, records showed he had been to the area 12 times in either early morning or late at night.
On November 17th, autopsies revealed all four victims were stabbed multiple times, no signs of sexual assault. Of the four victims, it’s believed that three were asleep during the horrific acts. Xana Kernodle, who received her food around 4am, and was on tik tok around 4:12am when the murdered took place, is believed to have been awake. Something so normal in generations today, staying up late, late night snacks, laughing at random videos on today’s most trending app, a life so many of us live, was taken just like that. An autopsy revealed that Xana had defensive wounds, and there is no doubt she fought to the very end. With only evidence being footage of Kohberger’s vehicle, police could not make a definitive arrest, but were on the lookout for Brian and his whereabouts. The public grew angry and disturbed as the one-month mark hit, and an arrest or new information was not made or released.
On December 15th, Kohberger was stopped by police for traffic violations. Kohberger, who had just ended his semester at Washington State, was driving with his father across the country to their home in Pennsylvania. The vehicle they were driving was in fact the white Hyundai Elantra from the surveillance camera. Brian and his father were pulled over twice, just east of Indianapolis, both times with Brian driving the vehicle. From an officer’s perspective camera, it is clear that Brian’s father is proud of his son finishing yet another semester, and enjoying the cross-country road trip with his son. While trying to answer the officer’s questions, Brian’s father is repeatedly receiving alarming looks from his son in the driver’s seat, and is even talked over multiple times by Brian who appears to be nervous.
On December 30th, Brian Kohberger was arrested for the murders of Xana Kernodle, Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, and Ethan Chapin. Arrested on four counts of first degree murder, the public and families of the victims were starting to feel as though justice had been served. Newfound evidence of the knife sheath left at the crime scene matched the DNA found at Kohberger’s home in Pennsylvania gave authorities the warrant they needed.
Brian Kohberger, a graduate student at Washington State University with a PhD in Criminal Justice is a murderer in one of the worst forms. His quadruple murder was part of his analysis on criminal offenses where he wanted to understand “how emotions and psychological traits influence decision making when committing a crime.” In the post, he described his study as “the story behind your most recent criminal offense, with an emphasis on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience.” Brian Kohberger, is a coward, a pathetic excuse of a man. That is not bias, nor an opinion, but a fact. His name should not be known, he doesn’t deserve to be remembered after what he’s done. Instead, the nation has brought light to the four beautiful souls taken from this world far too soon.
Ethan Chapin, a 20 year old student-athlete with nothing but love in his heart. Born as a triplet to his brother, Hunter Chapin, and sister, Maizie Chapin on October 28th, 2002. Growing up with two built in best friends, Ethan and his siblings played multiple sports like soccer, basketball, and cross country. Ethan attended Mount Vernon High School but was cut short by Covid, which then sent him and his siblings to Idaho where they worked at Hill’s resort. After finishing high school, they returned back to Idaho the summer before all three of them started at the University of Idaho. The bond he had with his siblings is one that could not be broken, not even after a tragedy like this. Upon attending UIdaho, Ethan and Hunter both joined the fraternity of Sigma Chi and Maizie joined Kappa Alpha Sorority. It was clear the three of them planned to live their college years to the absolute fullest, surrounding themselves with the people and things they loved. Ethan was dating another victim Xana Kernodle, and the two appeared to have been a very happy and loving couple. Having combined friend groups, the two navigated college together as friends before beginning dating. Ethan is remembered to be quite the social butterfly, and was not the biggest fan of academics, but he loved the challenge. He continued to play sports through the years as well. “If he wasn’t on the golf course or working, you could usually find him surfing, playing sand volleyball or pickleball,” his family stated. Ethan lived a life worth living, full of good memories and laughs, a life to be remembered. Ethan’s family had all donations in lieu of flowers to be sent to Tyler Amaya, a coach in Skagit County. Tyler plans to use the money to help coach his basketball programs to local youth, as Ethan would have wanted. Ethan Chapin, a life to not be forgotten.
Kaylee Goncalves, a 21 year old wild spirit born in Concord, California on June 8th, 2001. She was the third child of Steve and Kristi Goncalves, and later after two more siblings were born, Kaylee was the middle child of 5 children. Growing up in North Idaho, Kaylee was known to be authentic and comical by all friends and family. When anyone needed a laugh or to be cheered up, they instantly turned to Kaylee Goncalves. In middle school, Kaylee met none other than Maddie Mogen. “After that day, we were no longer a family of 5 siblings. We were 6,” Kaylee’s siblings stated. The two navigated middle school and high school together before ultimately deciding they weren’t ready for life to separate them yet, and made the decision to attend the University of Idaho together. Kaylee joined the Alpha Phi sorority and was on the road to becoming an elementary school teacher, and with her personality and aura, friends and family know she would have been amazing. She was known to always stay on top of her grades, always found in a crowd of people with jokes and stories, and knew how to find an adventure out of every situation. “She was strong. She was fair. She was tough. She was dedicated. She was beautiful. She was. She was and she is love,” her parents wrote. Kaylee is survived by a long list of loved ones, as anyone who met her loved her. Along with her fur baby, a mini goldendoodle that she loved and cherished dearly, Murphy. Kaylee was born into this world surrounded by the strongest love imaginable, and her family is at peace knowing her best friend and chosen sister, Maddie Mogen, is by her side through it all. Kaylee Goncalves, a life to not be forgotten.
Madison Mogen, a 21 year old blessing born on May 25th, 2001 in Eugene, Oregon. Maddie was loved by all, and known for lighting up a room with her smile. Her sense of humor was claimed to match no other, another reason her and Goncalves got along so well. Mogen was beyond dedicated and motivated to reach every goal she set for herself, she knew what she wanted, and she worked hard to earn every bit of her future she had planned. Maddie was a senior at the University of Idaho, and made the Dean’s List every semester, a phenomenal accomplishment her family is beyond proud of her for. She joined the Pi Beta Phi sorority, had her bestest friend Kaylee by her side, and a long distance relationship with her boyfriend of a year and a half, Jake Schriger. “You were so ready to take on the world and you were going to do such amazing things,” Jake writes on an instagram post, “I promise to make you proud from heaven and carry on your values of showing and spreading love to everyone.” Maddie was majoring in marketing and working at the Mad Greek restaurant alongside Xana during their college years. Madison was a full of life person, this is clear in some of her posts on today’s most trending app: tiktok. Her best friend, Kaylee, also had an account with many videos that had gone viral before the tragedy, one of which consisted of her, Maddie, Xana, and the other roommates pretending to be each other. In the video, their laughs are contagious, and watching them goof off with one another does exactly what their families say they did, bringing a smile to everyone’s face. It’s a beautiful sight to see, and how the family wishes to remember them, because they were nothing but good. On Maddie’s account, she also chose to have her liked videos be shown to the public. One that caught many attention was a video of a random group of adults meeting up and having a great time captioned, “having ur old college roomies over at ur house for dinner, remembering the days where we all lived under the same roof.” The background song being “Where’d All the Time Go?” Maddie had such bright plans, and knowing she saw the people she surrounded herself with as her forever people, the family is comforted knowing not only did she live, but she loved. Madison Mogen, a life to not be forgotten.
Xana Kernodle, a 20 year old outgoing, force to be reckoned with spirit was born on July 5th, 2002 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Growing up in Post Falls, Xana loved gymnastics from an early age and was talented beyond measure. In high school, she used her outgoing energy to partake in many extracurricular activities including: volleyball, track, and soccer. During high school she kept a stable job with Texas Roadhouse, with her social personality, it was a given she was a people person, always greeting everyone with a smile. As part of the graduating class of 2020 of Post Falls High School, Xana decorated her mortarboard with flower and butterfly cut-outs and the words, “For The Lives That I Will Change.” Change would be an understatement for what Xana has done. Upon attending the University of Idaho where she made lasting friendships and memories, Xana joined the Pi Beta Phi sorority alongside Mogen and the Vandal Solutions Sales Team. Like Maddie, Xana was also majoring in marketing. Staying close to home for college was a no-brainer for Xana, who was extremely close with her family. Often going on vacations and spending time with her dog, Shoeshine, and attending concerts in her free time. “Her desire to live life to the fullest, and contagious sense of humor, has made a lasting impression on all those who knew her. Xana was just starting to become the woman she was destined to be, and the world will be a lesser place without her,” stated her family. In a relationship with one of the other victims, Ethan Chapin, Xana writes, “Nobody else I would rather celebrate 20 years around the sun with,” on her birthday post picturing her and Chapin enjoying a day at the lake together. “I know she loved living in her house in Moscow with her friends. I hear so many stories of her and her roommates and it made me so happy to know she had such great friendships,” states Kernodle’s sister, Jazzmin. Of the roommates, it’s hinted that Xana was the most organized, picking up the slack when her roommates forgot to do their chores, but never being angry at them for it. Her roommates mocked her for this, and for the fact that she would always request to have a “small” party with 3-4 people at most. Surprise! Much like the other’s, Xana was very social. It was always more than 3-4 people. She lived a good time, all the time. Xana Kernodle, a life to not be forgotten.
Four victims taken way too soon, four so full of life, four inspirations. A reminder that life is short, so live it to the fullest every day you’re blessed with. Their names should not be forgotten, but they should be remembered as inspirations, not victims. Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin, lives to not be forgotten.