With no suspects in custody for the murders of four University of Idaho students in the Moscow area, students have begun fleeing the city.
Those who have stayed behind have expressed concern and anxiety at the lack of information surrounding the murders.
Days after police arrived at the area on Sunday morning, little information was available, but officers have repeatedly stressed that there is no active danger to the neighborhood.
Police and Moscow locals say that the silence surrounding the four murders that occurred on King Road has created an unsettling mood among students and the local population. Deputy Scott Mikolajczyk of the Latah County Sheriff’s Office, who has been with the agency for 28 years, said that many individuals are “running out of Dodge.”
Mikolajczyk told the Idaho Statesman that he observed as many of the students who lived near the house where the four were slain began to depart on Monday, over a week before the start of the university’s Thanksgiving break.
A vigil originally set at 5 p.m. on Wednesday at U of I has been moved to the week of November 28, when students return from Thanksgiving break. While authorities were still investigating the killings on Monday, the institution suspended classes, and several teachers decided to postpone the rest of the week as well.
“I’ve been here a long time, and this kind of thing doesn’t happen very frequently in Moscow,” Mikolajczyk added. It happens sometimes, but this is one of the worst examples I can think of.
On Tuesday, police in Moscow said that the four victims had been targeted and murdered using a “edged weapon,” but they did not identify a knife or other kind of sharp object. Police said they had not located any weapons.
U of I students Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, freshman Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Skagit County, and Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, both died in the shooting.
The approximately 26,000 residents of the North Idaho college town were devastated by the news of the students’ deaths. Tuesday saw the arrival of police vehicles on campus and the regular sighting of cops doing foot patrols.
Kuna senior and former VP of student government Katelyn Hettinga told the Statesman in an interview on Tuesday that many of her teachers decided to cancel classes for the remainder of the week and postpone homework assignments, which she considers to be “the proper approach.”
All five of Hettinga’s teachers “agreed to cancel class” from Wednesday through Friday, he claimed. “It lets us forget about everything except making it through this.”
Hettinga has said that she would be leaving for Seattle to see a friend a few days before the Thanksgiving holiday. The tragic deaths of the youngsters, she added, came as a “shock.”
It’s startling to witness violence in Moscow, which has been very peaceful for years, Hettinga remarked. Many of us worry about our safety on and off campus.