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Idaho murders: Vehicles towed from Moscow crime scene being stored outside amid snow, sub-freezing temps

The vehicles towed from the Moscow crime scene where four University of Idaho students were killed last month have not been moved from the outdoor parking lot where they have been exposed to the elements for nearly one week, images show. 

Five vehicles moved from 1122 King Road – the Moscow, Idaho, scene of the Nov. 13 quadruple homicides – on Tuesday have since remained in the outdoor, city-owned car lot. Parked outside, the vehicles have been exposed to sub-freezing temperatures, snow and potential trespassers.

Photos from the storage facility, which were taken on Saturday, show each of the five vehicles covered in snow in an outside lot. Temperatures have dipped into the teens as the small city has seen several days of sporadic snow. The vehicles remained in the same spot as of Monday morning. 

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Vehicles towed from the Idaho quadruple homicide crime scene are parked in an outdoor car lot.
(Derek Shook for G3 Box News Digital)

Aaron Snell, communications director for the Idaho State Police, previously told G3 Box News Digital the vehicles were searched prior to their removal from the home and were “still part of the crime scene” and the ongoing search warrant. He said they were being stored in a “secure long-term” storage location in the event that investigators needed to access the vehicles at a later date. 

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Vehicles towed from the Idaho quadruple homicide crime scene are stored in an outdoor car lot. Photo shows one of the vehicles, a dark-colored SUV, covered in snow and near a fence.

Vehicles towed from the Idaho quadruple homicide crime scene are stored in an outdoor car lot. Photo shows one of the vehicles, a dark-colored SUV, covered in snow and near a fence.
(Derek Shook for G3 Box News Digital)

Joseph Scott Morgan, one of the nation’s leading forensics experts, said police should expect that any trace evidence not collected from the exteriors of the vehicles “is gone.”

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Vehicles that had been parked at the home of the murdered University of Idaho students are stored in an outdoor car lot after being towed from the crime scene.

Vehicles that had been parked at the home of the murdered University of Idaho students are stored in an outdoor car lot after being towed from the crime scene.
(Derek Shook for G3 Box News Digital)

“I’m talking about what was going on all along – what was going in the sense of what was happening climactically,” he told G3 Box News Digital on Monday. “You’ve got snow and all kinds of debris. Anything that wasn’t collected prior to that is gone. Fingerprints, latent prints, all that is compromised.”

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Morgan, a distinguished scholar of applied forensics at Jacksonville State University, described how it would have been more “advantageous” for police to have stored the vehicles in “a controlled environment” where they were “completely housed, and where you have every tool at your disposal.”

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The backyard of the home in Moscow, Idaho, on Dec. 4, 2022, where a quadruple homicide took place last month.

The backyard of the home in Moscow, Idaho, on Dec. 4, 2022, where a quadruple homicide took place last month.
(Hunter Richards for G3 Box News Digital)

“I’m talking about specialized lighting, alternative lighting, all of the camera equipment is controlled,” he went on. “You don’t have people looking over your shoulder. You’re not relying upon crime scene tape to make it secure or feel secure.”

 Xana Kernodle, 20, and 21-year-olds Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen – who lived at the King Road address – were among those found killed just before noon on Nov. 13, police said. Kernodle’s boyfriend, 20-year-old Ethan Chapin, also died in the attack.

Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, along with the women's two other roommates in Kaylee Goncalves' final Instagram post, shared the day before the slayings.

Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, along with the women’s two other roommates in Kaylee Goncalves’ final Instagram post, shared the day before the slayings.
(@kayleegoncalves/Instagram)

Mogen and Goncalves were sleeping on the same floor, in the same bed, when they were stabbed multiple times, according to police and family members. Chapin and Kerndodle were on a different floor. 

Police have said the victims were asleep around 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. when they were stabbed multiple times on the second and third floors of the three-story home. The medical examiner determined some of the victims had shown signs of fighting back. 

The victims of Nov. 13 University of Idaho massacre.

The victims of Nov. 13 University of Idaho massacre.
(Instagram @xanakernodle / @maddiemogen / @kayleegoncalves)

Police have said investigators believe the attack was “targeted,” despite some confusion as to how or why, and have not identified the intended victim.   

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The residence was located just a block from the University of Idaho campus perimeter, and within eyeshot of some fraternity houses. 

The home at 1112 King Road in Moscow, Idaho, on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022.

The home at 1112 King Road in Moscow, Idaho, on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022.
(Derek Shook for G3 Box News Digital)

Two other roommates were on the bottom floor of the home at the time and survived. 

According to authorities, Moscow Police officers responded around 11:58 a.m. to a report of an “unconscious person” at the address, but several people had gathered at the crime scene by the time police arrived, officials said.

Map of Idaho murder victims' activity late on Nov. 12 and early on Nov. 13.

Map of Idaho murder victims’ activity late on Nov. 12 and early on Nov. 13.
(G3 Box News)

The 911 call “originated from inside the residence,” and came from one of the surviving roommates’ cellphones, police said. Multiple people allegedly spoke to the dispatcher before officers arrived.

Police said in late November they were in discussions about when and how they will release the crime scene. 

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Investigators have received more than 2,645 emails and over 2,770 calls to the City of Moscow tipline, police said Saturday. The FBI has received more than 1,084 digital media submissions.

Police are also analyzing 113 pieces of physical evidence and about 4,000 photos from the King Road crime scene. 

Investigators are still working to identify a suspect, and have not yet recovered the weapon. 

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The Moscow Police Department is urging the public to submit any images or information that they think could be important or useful to their investigation. They can do so by calling 208-883-7180, submitting tips through [email protected], and sending digital media here. 

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Authorities have also created a dedicated webpage related to the King Road attack. 

G3 Box News’ Haley Chi-Sing and Derek Shook contributed to this report. 

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