Police clear up 'miscommunication' on whether Idaho students were 'targeted' in brutal killings

Law enforcement officials investigating the murders of four University of Idaho students have issued multiple statements in the span of 24 hours to clear up miscommunication on whether the victims were "targeted." 

On Nov. 30, Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson told local news station KTVB that "investigators believe that this attack was intended for a specific person." 

His statement echoed what Moscow Police have been saying since the brutal killings on Nov. 13-- that it was not a random attack.

However, confusion grew in the community when police appeared to have issued a correction to the Prosecutor's statement. 

"Detectives do not currently know if the residence or any occupants were specifically targeted but continue to investigate," the Moscow Police Department said in a news release on Wednesday.

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Community members took that to believe that the attack may have been randomized, causing Moscow Police and Idaho State Police to issue another statement to clarify the previous one just hours earlier.

Idaho State Police said Thompson's statement was the result of a "miscommunication," but did not explain how that occurred. 

"Our clarification last night directly addressed comments made by Latah County Prosecutor Thompson, who said the suspect(s) specifically looked at this residence, and that one or more of the occupants were undoubtedly targeted. We remain consistent in our belief that this was indeed a targeted attack but have not concluded if the target was the residence or its occupants," Idaho State Police told FOX 13. 

On Facebook, Idaho Police Department wrote: 

"Regarding the interview with Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson, we feel his responses were messaged to support the implication that new information had been released. Specifically, generalized statements regarding the potential of targeted victims and the involvement of drugs were redefined into an affirmative answer." 

Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were all found stabbed to death in their beds in their off-campus home on Nov. 13. 

Moscow Police Captain Roger Lanier said one week ago that detectives believed the attack was targeted, but couldn't say why to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

"We've told the public very clearly from the beginning that we believe it was a targeted attack," Lanier said. "To be honest, you're going to have to trust us on that at this point, because we're not going to release why we think that."

In short, there is no new information that hasn't already been released, and police still do not have a suspect or suspects in the brutal killings of the four students. 


Idaho murders: FBI profiler says suspect could go to victims' funerals to take 'pleasure' in crimes

Retired FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole said there's a 50% chance the killer could attend the victims' funerals because of the brazenness of the attack