University of Idaho murders: police can't say if survivors are witnesses or suspects

4 Moscow, Idaho, student murders seem 'personal,' the coroner told a local news outlet

FIRST ON FOX: The female roommates who were home when four Idaho college students were savagely stabbed to death Sunday in a house near campus haven't been ruled out as suspects, an official told Fox News Digital. 

"These are people who may have seen the crime but on the flip side may have committed the crime," said Aaron Snell, communications director for the Idaho State Police. "We don’t know if they are witnesses, victims or suspects, so until we do a thorough investigation, naming them would be inappropriate."

Snell added that the roommates had been "fully cooperative."

It was revealed Wednesday at a press conference, that the roommates had been home when Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were brutally attacked with an "edged weapon," likely a knife, between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. 

UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO MURDERS TIMELINE: WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE SLAUGHTER OF FOUR STUDENTS

A split photo showing the school 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 school and the victims, including University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20; Xana Kernodle, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21. (Derek Shook for Fox News Digital/Jazzmin Kernodle via AP/ Instagram/ @kayleegoncalves)

Police found the gruesome scene on King Road, in Moscow, Idaho, after responding to a 911 call around noon reporting an "unconscious individual." 

Authorities haven't identified the caller or offered an explanation for why the savage murders weren't reported sooner if there were people in the same house.

"These are people who may have seen the crime but on the flip side may have committed the crime," 

— Aaron Snell, Idaho State Police communications director

Snell said investigators hadn't determined whether it was a single assailant, or zeroed in on a motive.

"Right now, all options are on the table. We haven’t excluded anything yet," he said. "We have not come to any conclusion yet, and I know that’s frustrating to the public, but this is a very complex and difficult case."

The four victims in the University of Idaho slayings.

The four victims in the University of Idaho slayings. (Instagram: @kayleegoncalves)

The size of the crime scene, the number of victims and the amount of forensic evidence that has to be processed makes the investigation more challenging, he said.

UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO MURDERS: TWO ROOMMATES WERE AT HOME WHEN FOUR STUDENTS WERE KILLED

Snell added that he planned to release a more comprehensive timeline of the victims' final activity Friday afternoon as well as detailed information on the number of personnel working the case.

The home in Moscow, Idaho, where four college students were stabbed to death over the weekend. 

The home in Moscow, Idaho, where four college students were stabbed to death over the weekend.  (Derek Shook for Fox News Digital)

The FBI and the Idaho State Police are helping the Moscow City Police Department in the investigation.

Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said Thursday that the cause of death for all four victims was murder by stabbing. 

UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO MURDERS: BLOOD SEEN OOZING FROM HOUSE AMID REPORTS OF PREVIOUS THREAT

She told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News that "It would have had to have been a very large knife."  She also sid the attack seemed "personal" in an interview with the Idaho News.

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)

Mabbutt told NewsNation that the victims were found in bed and may have been ambushed in their sleep. 

"It has to be somebody that's pretty angry in order to stab four people to death," she said. There were no signs of sexual assault.

A local hardware store manager told the Idaho Statesman that police had stopped by more than once and asked whether the shop had recently sold any Ka-Bar-style knives. The store doesn't carry the weapon.

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Snell urged locals to be vigilant. "There is an unidentified suspect at this time that’s in the community or in someone’s community somewhere, so you have to be cautious," he said.  "There is somebody out there who has committed murder."