Fear and frustration run high in the Idaho city, where four students were found dead

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MOSCOW, Idaho — In this college town mourning four students killed in a quadruple homicide, the anguish and frustration are hard to miss.

Students at the University of Idaho said Tuesday they were frightened because the perpetrator of the attack had not yet been caught not far from campus and frustrated over what they perceived as a lack of information about the murders of officials.

Police have said the four were killed in an isolated, targeted attack and there is no imminent threat to the community as a whole.

Officers investigate the death of four University of Idaho students in an apartment complex south of campus on November 14, 2022 in Moscow, Idaho. (Zach Wilkinson/The Moscow-Pullman Daily News via TBEN)

Moscow Mayor Art Bettge has speculated that the deaths could be related to a “crime gone wrong” or a “crime of passion”, but with no suspect or knowledge if anything was missing from the home, a motive elusive.

On the sprawling red-brick Moscow campus just east of the Washington line, one student said she was adjusting her routines — no more late-night walks around college — and developing new ones.

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“I lock my bedroom door on my apartment door,” said sophomore Ainslee Hipsak, 20. “I’m not sure I believe them when they say it’s safe.”

In a note sent to students Monday, University President Scott Green said police did not believe there was an “ongoing risk” for students. Classes at the university’s flagship campus were canceled on Monday but resumed on Tuesday.

Responding to a request for comment, a spokeswoman for the school pointed to an email from the student counselor Tuesday saying that while ongoing support was available on campus, “we also recognize that some students may need to deal with this situation in a different way.” tackling.”

“Please convey your needs to your faculty, who I am sure will work with you as you determine the best path for you,” said the dean, Blain Eckles.

Abigail Spencer, a junior, said a member of her sorority offered to provide the group with “personal protective equipment,” while Ellie McKnight, also a junior, said she avoids more at home.

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McKnight, 20, said she lives next door to the house where Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison May, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were found dead on Sunday.

McKnight’s parents urged her to leave Moscow and go home a few hours south ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. But McKnight refused, saying she didn’t have a car.

But many others have done just that. So many students have left that school officials canceled a vigil scheduled for Wednesday, according to an email from the student counselor. The event is now scheduled for after the holiday, according to the note sent out on Tuesday.

McKnight said the reduced activity on campus on Tuesday was a “throwback” to the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Candles and flowers are left at a makeshift memorial honoring four slain University of Idaho students outside the Mad Greek restaurant in downtown Moscow, Idaho, on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. Police discovered the bodies of the four students in their home near campus on Sunday, November 13, 2022, and said the killer or killers used a knife or bladed weapon in the targeted attack.  Two of the victims, 21-year-old Madison Mogen and 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, were servers at Mad Greek.  (Nicholas K. Geranios / AP)

Candles and flowers are left at a makeshift memorial honoring four slain University of Idaho students outside the Mad Greek restaurant in downtown Moscow, Idaho, on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. Police discovered the bodies of the four students in their home near campus on Sunday, November 13, 2022, and said the killer or killers used a knife or bladed weapon in the targeted attack. Two of the victims, 21-year-old Madison Mogen and 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, were servers at Mad Greek. (Nicholas K. Geranios / TBEN)

Haadiya Tariq, a senior and the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Argonaut, blamed police for saying there was no ongoing threat, while she said she gave few details about the murders as the killer was on the loose.

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Moscow police said they had found four dead on Sunday after a report of an unconscious person. On Monday, police identified the victims as students and earlier Tuesday said a “sharp weapon” was most likely used in a “targeted attack”.

“I’m personally frustrated,” Tariq said. “I don’t understand why they don’t release certain information. It doesn’t feel like they are real to the community.

She added: “It meant some people were like, ‘Oh it’s totally fine, it’s safe, I’m going to walk alone in the dark when I don’t necessarily know what the risk might be there.’ And we still don’t really know because as long as that person isn’t in custody, I don’t know what to think.”

A police spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. The mayor also did not respond to a request for comment.

In an earlier statement, police said they had “shared all possible information without jeopardizing the ongoing investigation”.

Police say no weapon has been found.

“Autopsies are scheduled for later this week and will hopefully provide more definitive information on the exact cause of death,” police said.

Federal officials are working with local law enforcement to investigate, an FBI spokesman said Tuesday.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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