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Police investigating Idaho murders "identify patterns" as they zero in on Hyundai Elantra seen on video

Four Dead University of Idaho
Posted at 12:57 PM, Dec 16, 2022

More than a month after four University of Idaho students were found dead inside a house near campus, police continue to zero in on a white car that was spotted on video near the home as evidence is leading authorities to "identify patterns" about the case.

Detectives have been searching for a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra that was seen on video "in the immediate area" of the residence around the time of the murders. On Thursday, the Moscow Police Department said investigators are sorting through 22,000 registered vehicles that fit the description of the car.

"Through our tips, through our leads, some of the evidence that came in, we start to identify patterns," Captain Roger Lanier said in a video interview Thursday. "And like we said earlier, we are confident that the occupant or occupants of that vehicle had information that's critical to this investigation."

Lanier said officers have been gathering video evidence since the day of the crime, on Nov. 13. He said that while the focus was initially the immediate area, the search for video eventually expanded to the King Road area and main thoroughfares in the city.

"We weren't trying to pigeonhole our investigation into the suspect lives in the area," Lanier said. "We wanted to make sure that we covered all the bases."

Police say the murders occurred early in the morning of Sunday, Nov. 13, sometime after 3:00 a.m. Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were found dead on the second and third floors of the rental home that Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle lived in with two other roommates. Chapin and Kernodle were dating.

No suspects have been identified.

In an interview with NBC's "Today" show that aired on Thursday, Kristi Goncalves, the mother of Kaylee Goncalves, described "being left in the dark" over the course of the probe and lamented the lack of communication between police and the victims' families.

"It's sleepless nights. It's feeling sick to your stomach. It's just being left in the dark," Goncalves said of the investigation, which has continued for more than four weeks. Goncalves admitted she fears the case will never be solved, saying, "I can't help but not ... There's a lot of unsolved murders," she told the show.

When police initially identified that Hyundai Elantra as being near the students' house on the night of the murders, Kristi Goncalves said her family was not notified directly about the lead. Instead, she said she learned about the vehicle in a news release issued by the police department.

During an appearance on "Good Morning America," Kristie Goncalves and her husband shared apprehension over the pace of the investigation and said they worry that evidence will start to disappear with time.

She shared her own thoughts about the still-unidentified killer, saying, "I think this person went in very methodical, I think he really thought it out. I think he was quick. I think it was quiet, and he got in, and he got out."