Idaho murders: Police chief defends investigation into quadruple coed killings

Moscow Police Chief James Fry on Tuesday defended his department's investigation into the Nov. 13 murders of four University of Idaho students in their home near campus.

The department has faced criticism and impatience as more than a month has passed since the killings without any suspects or persons of interest, though officials have maintained that the attack against Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen was an "isolated, targeted" incident.

"There have been numerous questions about leadership in this investigation. Let me be clear, this is the Moscow Police Departments' investigation, and I am the Chief of Police," Fry said in a Tuesday statement. "The decisions are mine and mine alone. I have an excellent Command Staff, with over 90 years of combined experience, overseeing the investigation's daily operation, and I select who runs the investigative teams."

He continued: "We are supported by highly trained and experienced personnel from the Idaho State Police and the FBI. Their continued resources and knowledge are vital to our success. Our investigative units work under a unified structure and have the autonomy to move forward and solve this case. Despite statements about my team, we remain focused on solving the murder of four students to seek justice for them, their families and to help our community heal."

The four friends — three of whom were roommates at the home where they were murdered — were found dead around noon on Nov. 13, a Sunday. The Latah County coroner said they were stabbed to death in their sleep between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. All the victims were stabbed multiple times, and som of the victims had defensive wounds.

Two roommates living on the first floor of the home survived the attack.

Shanon Gray, who represents the Goncalves family, told Fox News Digital on Monday that if police are "not capable of handling a quadruple murder, if they are in over their heads, then acknowledge that and turn the investigation over to someone who is more versed in handling these matters." But he added that the family is hopeful the Moscow Police Department (MPD), with help from the FBI and the Idaho State Police, are thoroughly probing the baffling killings of four University of Idaho students. 

Police are searching for a white Hyundai Elantra that was spotted near the crime scene in the early morning hours of Nov. 13. The occupants of the vehicle on that date have yet to come forward since police announced a be-on-the-lookout alert on Dec. 7.

Internet sleuths on Monday noted a damaged Hyundai Elantra in Eugene, Oregon, that police found while responding to a 911 call on Dec. 17. The caller reported a person sleeping in the damaged vehicle. Police made contact with that person, who was homeless, but there was no further report.

Idaho murders: Police investigate abandoned white Hyundai found in Oregon

Moscow, Idaho, police confirmed Tuesday that they are investigating an abandoned white Hyundai Elanra found in Eugene, Oregon, in connection to the murder of four University of Idaho students.

Moscow police now say they are aware of that vehicle.

"We are working with the local jurisdiction to determine if the vehicle is related to our case," MPD said in their Tuesday press release.

Investigators continue to comb through more than 7,650 emailed tips, 4,313 phone tips, 4,583 digital media submissions. They have also conducted more than 250 interviews, MPD said.

Additionally, MPD acknowledged surveillance video footage from early on Nov. 13 showing Mogen and Goncalves walking downtown and talking about a man named "Adam," whom police say is cooperating with their investigation.

MPD has ruled out several people who were in touch with the two girls that night as suspects, including a man whom they spoke with while ordering food from a food truck; the private party that drove them home that evening; a man whom Goncalves called multiple times early on Nov. 13; and their two surviving roommates.

Police have yet to announce any kind of motive in the attack.

Authorities are asking the public to call in tips at 208-883-7180, email tipline@ci.moscow.id.us or submit digital media here.