Authorities said on Tuesday the gory scene in which four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death was the “worst they’ve ever seen” – as people on campus angered by the shocking crime who left town early for Thanksgiving.
Police sources told the Daily Mail that victims were bleeding at the off-campus home after the massacre, describing the scene as the “worst they had ever witnessed”.
“There was blood everywhere. We have investigators who have been on the job for 20 years, even 30 years, and they say they’ve never seen anything like it,” said a police source familiar with the investigation.
The Daily Mail also published chilling footage showing blood running down the side of the building where the bodies were found.
Police have identified the victims, who were found dead Sunday afternoon, as Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.
On Tuesday, Moscow police called their deaths “targeted” killings.
“We definitely have a crime here, so we’re looking for a suspect,” Constable Anthony Dahlinger told the Idaho Statesman.
“Based on preliminary information, investigators believe a stabbing weapon such as a knife was used,” police said in a statement.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt said the autopsies would be conducted on Wednesday.
The crime left the community reeling, and many students decided to pack up early and go home for Thanksgiving.
“As a large number of students have already left the Moscow campus, a candlelight vigil previously scheduled for tomorrow, November 16, will be postponed,” Dean of Studies Blaine Eckles wrote in a statement Tuesday, FoxNews reported.
“It will be held after the Thanksgiving holiday on the week of November 28th so any students who wish to attend can do so. Continue to monitor your emails for the date, time and location of the vigil,” she wrote.
The deaths “had a profound impact on their families and friends,” and the school “is with them in their grief,” Eckles added.
A lot of people are “getting out of Dodge,” Latah County Deputy Sheriff Scott Mikolajczyk told the Idaho Statesman.
The 28-year-old police veteran told the newspaper he saw locals, including many students, leaving town on Monday, nearly a week before the university’s Thanksgiving holiday began.
“I’ve been here a long time and this kind of thing doesn’t happen often in Moscow,” Mikolajczyk told the statesman. “It’s happened from time to time and I think it’s probably one of the worst.”
Senior Katelyn Hettinga, the school’s former student body vice-president, told the newspaper on Tuesday that all of her teachers had canceled classes for the rest of the week, which she felt was “the right decision”.
“It lets us focus on just getting through this,” she said. “I know violence can happen anywhere, but to see it in Moscow, which has been such a safe place for several years, is so shocking.”
Hettinga added, “Many of us don’t feel safe in the safety that we feel on and around campus.”