By: Andrea Cipriano, MAFP

Four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death in their off-campus house in the early morning hours of November 13. It’s been three weeks. No arrests have been made, and authorities have been busy debunking endless rumors.

The college students found in their beds have been identified as Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20. The three women lived there, along with two other female roommates, while Chapin was an overnight guest. A coroner determined the four victims were each stabbed multiple times and were likely asleep when the attacks began, police have said. Autopsies also revealed that some of the victims appeared to have defensive wounds.

The Idaho college killer didn’t take the lives of two other female roommates, and the perpetrator didn’t sexually assault any of the victims, officials said. Speculation is rampant about how Kaylee’s dog, Murphy, was in “another part of the house” and why there was no evidence found on the dog. Now, some experts are looking at attacks from the past perpetrated by violent offenders, hoping to learn from the previous investigations. But, before diving into similar notorious college attacks, it’s essential to put college crime rates and data surrounding stalking on college campuses into perspective.

Crime on College Campuses

The good news is that campus crime rates have steadily declined over the past two decades.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a total of 28,500 criminal incidents on college campuses were reported to police or campus security agencies in 2018.

This translates to 19.5 on-campus crimes reported per 10,000 full-time college students in the U.S. In other words, college campuses are often safer than America at large, considering the most recent data says there are 38.8 crimes per 10,000 people.  Murder makes up less than 1 percent of the reported incidents…but stalking occurs much more frequently.

To that end, 18-24-year-olds experience the highest rates of stalking among adults. 

Stalking is important to understand, considering in 2017, between 6% and 39% of students reported being stalked while in college, with almost all sufferers telling friends or family about the stalker. Stalking researchers at SPARC conducted a study in 2017, and found the majority of stalkers are also students at the same university, former intimate partners (33%) who send unwanted voice or text messages (45%), and approach victims in-person at unwanted locations or unwelcomed events (37%). Moreover, stalking increases the risk of homicide by three times.

Investigators are still looking to see if there’s a connection between a stalker and the heartbreaking murders in the Idaho community, CNN reports.

Ted Bundy and Danny Rolling

Experts say some elements of the Idaho killings bear an eerie resemblance to previous college massacres.  In 1978, infamous serial killer Ted Bundy broke into the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University. He sexually assaulted and murdered two women. Three other women were attacked but thankfully survived.

“It’s strikingly similar to the Ted Bundy attack,” Matt Hoggatt, a retired criminal investigator with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Mississippi, shared with Fox News. “Bundy had knowledge of the victims in the house, and it was a sort of frenzied attack with extreme violence.” Hoggatt continued, saying, “Bundy enjoyed the hunt and the actual climax up to the murder. He enjoyed the anticipation and the plotting, and it’s kind of what it seems like here.”

Kathy Kleiner and Karen Chandler, college roommates and outspoken survivors of the Chi Omega attacks, both shared with CBS News that Bundy would attack one of them and then switch off to attacking the other roommate as they’d stir from the noise. Ultimately, Bundy was scared out of their room by a car light shining through the window between their beds. He fled.

Sorority sisters and roommates Kathy Kleiner and Karen Chandler at a Halloween party in October 1977, via CBS.

Unfortunately, in the Idaho case, nothing seemed to scare the offender away. They stayed in the house for as long as they wanted.

Some experts also argue that other differences between the crimes are that the Idaho killer is a possibly first-time offender, and the Idaho offender didn’t force their way into the off-campus home — which Bundy had to do in 1978.

Retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente says that he believes there’s no indication the person responsible for the Idaho murders has struck before. 

Clemente told Fox News: “If it was a serial killer, I would expect him to kill everyone in the house, so I believe this was a targeted attack, totally different from Bundy, which was a random attack.”

Former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole has a slightly different perspective than Clemente, sharing with Newsweek that an offender this violent likely has a background in “criminal behavior.”

“This is a very violent person, and so there’s gonna be violence in their background, and the violence could be towards other people, it could be towards animals, it could be domestic violence, but this is not the first time this person has acted out violently,” O’Toole said.

Similarities between the Idaho attacks and the 1990 stabbings in Gainesville, Florida, are also emerging. 

Joseph Scott Morgan, a professor of applied forensics at Jacksonville State University (JSU), says the comparisons to the current Idaho crime and Gainesville are uncanny.

Danny Rolling, the “Gainesville Ripper,” took the lives of five college students over the course of three days in August of 1990. Rolling was targeting young women who he believed looked like his ex-wife.

Morgan described to the Daily Mail how in two of the 1990 killings, Rolling broke into an apartment shared by two freshmen. He brutally stabbed the girls and then posed their bodies. The following evening, he stabbed and decapitated another female college student. Finally, two days later, Rolling’s terror ended when he was caught after killing another female student and her male roommate.

While Rolling didn’t know the victims the way authorities are suggesting the Idaho killer knew the victims, Morgan shared with Fox News that the weapon of choice and methodology are essential to look at. 

“[Both killings] involved knives, occurred in a college town but in off-campus houses, and Rolling went into these homes that had more than one occupant,” Morgan shared, noting the Rambo-style knife in the Idaho killings could hold clues to who the offender is.

Morgan said the Idaho killings and the 1990 JSU attacks were both “extremely high-risk” crimes. 

“But all this is speculation,” Morgan added. “All that really matters right now is getting [the Idaho killer] caught.”

Where does the #Idaho4 Investigation stand?

It has been three weeks since the deadly November 13 attacks. No arrests have been made, despite the more than 2,770 calls to the investigative tip line.

Authorities remain “confident” that the attack was targeted.

Because of the virality of this case, authorities have been busy debunking the rumor mill that’s circulating online.

In a statement released on December 5, Moscow Police are reiterating to the public that “unfounded accusations and other rampant online chatter has not been helping their investigation.” E! News has part of their full statement online:

There have been statements and speculation about this case, victim injuries, cause of death, evidence collection and processing, and investigative techniques. With the active criminal investigation, law enforcement has not released additional facts to the family or the public. We recognize the frustration this causes and that speculation proliferates in the absence of facts.

At the same time, the police say they’re still encouraging anyone with information to come speak to them. They noted that they believe someone has more information that can “add context to the picture” of what occurred that evening. 

“Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be one of the puzzle pieces that help solve these murders.”

Moscow Police are also seeking any information about a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra that was in the area of the crime scene during “the early morning hours” of November 13th. Stock images of the car are listed below.

Anyone with information about the incident is being asked to call Moscow police at 208-883-7054 or email [email protected].