Ex-tenant reveals it would have been hard for killer to move around ‘creaky’ Idaho murders house unnoticed

Graduate Cole Altenede says the home was ‘very familiar’ to a lot of students in the college town, revealing that it had a ‘very active party life’

Rachel Sharp
Tuesday 27 December 2022 11:40 GMT
Idaho police chief responds to questions about killer's whereabouts
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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A former tenant of the home where four University of Idaho students were butchered in their beds has revealed that it would have been difficult for the killer to move around the “creaky” house unnoticed.

Cole Altenede lived in the six-bedroom, off-campus home on King Road, Moscow, during his junior year, before graduating from the college in 2022.

On 13 November, current tenants Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen and Xana Kernodle and Kernodle’s boyfriend – who was staying with her for the night – were brutally stabbed to death inside the property.

Two other female roommates were home at the time and are believed to have slept through the violent attacks.

The surviving roommates were in rooms on the first floor of the home, while the victims were found on the second and third floors, according to Moscow Police. The two surviving roommates were both ruled out as suspects early on in the investigation.

Now, more than six weeks on from the murders, the killer is still at large with no suspects identified and no arrests made.

Mr Altenede told ABC News that he could typically hear every movement inside the home when he lived there.

“It’s definitely an old, creaky house,” he said, adding that each floor had two bedrooms and one bathroom.

“You can’t walk up any of the stairs or on any of the floors without everybody in the house knowing it.”

The graduate added that the home was “very familiar” to a lot of students in the college town, with the house and the surrounding neighbourhood known to have a “very active party life”.

“A lot of students are very familiar with the inside of the home,” he said.

“At parties, people would hop the fence and just, like, walk away if the cops came.”

Neighbours have previously described the student home as a “party house” and, just two months before the murders, police were called to the property due to a noise complaint.

Bodycam footage from the 1 September incident, released by Moscow Police Department, shows officers arriving at the home while loud music is heard playing.

The home where four University of Idaho students were murdered
The home where four University of Idaho students were murdered (AP)

Several students are seen leaving the address as officers repeatedly ask to speak to someone who lives there.

Eventually, one of the partygoers puts Mogen on the phone who apologises to an officer.

Investigators have stopped short of ruling out any connection between that incident and the brutal murders two months later.

“Investigators are aware of prior contacts at the residence and throughout the neighborhood,” a spokesperson for Idaho State Police told The Independent last week.

“At this time, we are not counting anything out and continue to investigate anything that might have relevance to the case.”

With the investigation now in its seventh week, Mr Alteneder said that “I think everybody expected” an arrest to have been made by now.

But, despite the murder probe rumbling on, Mogen’s father said he is remaining hopeful that his daughter’s killer will finally be caught.

“From the very beginning, I’ve known that people don’t get away with these things these days,” Ben Mogen told the Spokesman-Review, as he was forced to spend Christmas without his 21-year-old daughter.

“There’s too many things that you can get caught up on, like DNA and videos everywhere. This isn’t something that people get away with, that goes unsolved.”

Mr Mogen also revealed the heartbreaking moment he learned about her murder. It was just a normal day and he had gone to the cinema, when he received a call from his daughter’s mother.

“We didn’t even know what to say to each other, we just both were sobbing,” he said.

“We just cried together on the phone, I guess. There’s just no words for any of that.”

Ever since that day, Mr Mogen said he has been kept up to date on the case by law enforcement officials – something which has helped him not to be drawn into the rampant speculation circulating online.

“It’s hard for me to read all of these articles,” he said.

“I can get all my news about it right from there [authorities], and I don’t have to try and drudge through all this misinformation.”

In a Christmas Eve update, Moscow Police said investigators are continuing to search for the occupant or occupants of a white Hyundai Elantra, model 2011 to 2013, seen in the “immediate area” of the home on King Road at the time of the murders.

Madison Mogen’s father said he has faith that the killer will be caught
Madison Mogen’s father said he has faith that the killer will be caught (Madison Mogen/ Instagram )

Investigators believe that the individual or individuals in the car – whose licence plate is unknown – may have “critical information to share regarding this case”.

Border agents along the US’s border with Canada have been notified to be on the lookout for the car and tips have been pouring in from the public.

So far, police have identified around 22,000 vehicles that fit the description of the vehicle and are combing through the information for clues.

On the night of 12 November, Kernodle and Chapin were at a sorority party at Sigma Chi house together from 8pm to 9pm and arrived back at the home at around 1.45am. It is unclear where they were during that five-hour time gap.

Goncalves and Mogen arrived back at the property at around 1.56am.

The two surviving roommates were also out that night and arrived home at around 1am, police said.

The horrific crime scene went unnoticed for several more hours, with police receiving a 911 call at 11.58am on Sunday, reporting an “unconscious individual” at the home.

The two other roommates had first called friends to the home because they believed one of the second floor victims was unconscious and would not wake up. When the friends arrived, a 911 call was made from one of the roommates’ phones.

Police arrived on the scene to find the four victims dead from multiple stab wounds.

The victims are believed to have been killed with a fixed-blade knife at around 3am or 4am on 13 November. There was no sign of sexual assault.

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