Idaho murder victim’s father describes ‘worst nightmare’, as FBI remains silent amid mystery over daughter’s death

Exclusive: Jeffrey Kornodle tells The Independent that he is growing frustrated with speculation around the mysterious murder

Andrea Blanco
Friday 18 November 2022 19:29 EST

Related: Video shows mystery man with slain Idaho students

Jeffrey Kornodle, the father of one of four students at the University of Idaho found stabbed to death at the home three of them shared, has told The Independent he is growing frustrated with speculation around the mysterious murder of his daughter, 20-year-old Xana Kernodle.

Xana, her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, and roommates Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen, both 21, were stabbed to death inside a home in the small college town of Moscow at around midday on Sunday. No arrests have been made in the investigation and authorities have released very few details about the murders.

Moscow Police initially said there was no threat before backtracking from the remarks and asking the community in the college town to remain vigilant. Chief James Fry said during a press conference on Wednesday that more than 25 investigators from the FBI, the Latah County Sheriff’s Office and the Idaho State Police have joined the case.

Mr Kornodle said that the FBI was “not saying anything,” as of Thursday and called the tragedy his “worst nightmare.”

“How can you protect some kid? You keep them at home and don’t let him go to college? They’re not gonna stay at home like that,” Mr Kornodle told The Independent. “So, it’s really mind-boggling. It’s just completely unthinkable and it’s the worst nightmare.”

Parents of the murdered students have previously debunked rumours spreading online about the motive behind the killings.

Chapin’s parents, Stacy and Jim Chapin, told NBC affiliate KING5 that drugs or a love triangle were not involved in the murders.

“The things that are being said are 100% not true,” Ms Chapin told the outlet. “There [are] not drugs involved, there is not some weird love triangle. He had stayed the night at his girlfriend’s house, who was one of five girls who lived in the home.”

Mr Kernodle also said that his daughter’s injuries showed how she desperately tried to fight off the person who killed her, as well as her boyfriend and two friends in the horror attack.

Jeff Kernodle (left) and Xana Kernodle (centre)

“Bruises, torn by the knife. She’s a tough kid,” he told CBS.

He added that he couldn’t understand how the killer gained access to the home.

”Every time you go, you have to go around the house because of the number code so they either knew that or went around and maybe found the slider door open,” Mr Kernodle said. “I think midnight was the last time we heard from her, and she was fine.”

Autopsy findings, released on Thursday, revealed that all four had suffered multiple stab wounds from a large knife.

The deaths have been ruled homicides with the killer or killers still at large five days on from the slayings.

Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt confirmed that some of the victims had defensive wounds from the knife attack, adding that she had seen “nothing, nothing like this” in her almost two-decade-long career.

There was no sign of sexual assault on any of the victims but they each suffered “pretty extensive” wounds, she told NBC News, confirming that each victim was stabbed a different amount of times and in different places on the body.

Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin

She added that it was not possible to determine from the injuries the order in which the four victims were attacked but officials are using “other text messages and other technology” to try to build up a timeline, she said.

She told local outlet Idaho News that the autopsies did reveal one thing: “It’s personal.”

From the start of the investigation, police have said the attack was “targeted” – but have not made any arrests or identified any suspects in the case.

The four victims were all found dead inside a college home at around midday on Sunday, after police received a mysterious 911 call at midday reporting an “unconscious individual”.

When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered the four friends – all sorority or fraternity members at the college – dead inside the home. There was no sign of forced entry, the front door was open and nothing appeared to have been taken, police said.

The three female students lived together at the home with two other students. Chapin was dating Kernodle and was staying the night with her. The two other roommates were present inside the home at the time, but were unharmed.

They are cooperating with the investigation and did not necessarily witness what happened, police said.

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