Idaho murders: Roommates of slain university students break their silence

Both surviving roommates shared letters they wrote for Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves

MOSCOW, Idaho – Two roommates who survived the Nov. 13 attack that left four University of Idaho students dead in their home near campus shared public statements for the first time during a memorial service for their loved ones on Friday in Post Falls, Idaho.

Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke were sleeping on the first floor of their rental home on King Road when their three roommates, Kaylee Goncalves, 21; and Madison Mogen, 21; and Xana Kernodle, 20; as well as Kernodle's 20-year-old boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, were stabbed to death in the early morning hours of Nov. 13.

A youth pastor named Chris at Real Life Ministries, where the service was held, read Mortensen's letter first, which began by describing Kernodle's and Chapin's loving relationship.

"To Xana and Ethan – the two best friends but perfect pair together," Mortensen wrote. "They had this unstoppable, loving relationship. They'd both look at each other with so much love. Everyone knew they were the perfect duo. They both had this fun, passionate, crazy but good energy. They both were the kind of people who cared about everyone and would help anyone."

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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)

She described Kernodle as "the life of the party" who was also "so much more than a girl who could just have fun." She was "strong, intelligent, hardworking," and beautiful, Mortensen wrote, adding that she was a "people person," and "everyone that got the chance to know her loved her."

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She went on to describe Chapin as someone she looked up to as an older brother figure who was goofy, sarcastic, loving, caring and easy to talk to. Kernodle was "his whole world, and you could see it in him," she wrote.

A split photo showing the crime scene and the victims, including University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20; Xana Kernodle, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.

A split photo showing the crime scene and the victims, including University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20; Xana Kernodle, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21. (Angela Palermo/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images/Instagram/ @kayleegoncalves)

"I know, somewhere, Xana and Ethan are together, keeping each other company, watching us, and telling us it's okay and that we have each other," Mortensen said.

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The roommate went on to describe Mogen and Goncalves as "an inseparable duo" who were best friends that treated each other like sisters.

Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves shared multiple photos together on social media.

Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves shared multiple photos together on social media. (Instagram/ @kayleegoncalves)

"Maddie and Kaylee were like second moms to me. They taught me a lot on how to be a responsible adult but also how to live life happy. They changed the way I look at life and how to enjoy life to the fullest," she wrote.

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The pair were described as happy people who enjoyed life "to the fullest." They were responsible and hard-working young women but also knew how to have fun and appreciate the small things.

University of Idaho victims Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were close friends.

University of Idaho victims Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were close friends. (Instagram/ @kayleegoncalves)

Funke said Mogen was her "big" in the University of Idaho's Pi Beta Phi sorority — and the big sister she always wanted.

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"You always told me that everything happens for a reason, but I’m having a really hard time trying to understand the reason for this," Funke wrote to Mogen in her letter read aloud during the vigil. 

The victims of Nov. 13 University of Idaho massacre. 

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

Funke said she wishes she could give each of her roommates "one last hug" and tell them how much she "loved them."

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Moscow police have continued to describe the brutal murders as "an isolated, targeted attack." University of Idaho students who left campus for Thanksgiving break were given the option to stay home and learn remotely instead of returning to campus with a suspect still on the run. Police also have yet to announce any kind of motive in the quadruple murder.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the incident to call 208-883-7180 or tipline@ci.moscow.id.us.