Idaho Murder Case: Vigil Held on Anniversary of 4 College Students' Deaths

On the first anniversary of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin's deaths, the community held a vigil in honor of the victims.

By Hayley Santaflorentina Nov 14, 2023 2:41 PMTags
Watch: Idaho College Murders: Suspect's Alleged Alibi Revealed

The University of Idaho is honoring its late students' memories. 

On the first anniversary of the deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, who were murdered in off-campus housing, the school held a vigil to honor the four victims. 

During the candlelit ceremony held on campus Nov. 13, close friends of Kaylee, Madison, Xana and Ethan shared tributes and had a moment of silence for each of the late students. And on a difficult day for the students' loved ones, the ceremony provided some small comfort. 

"It helps us know," Steve Goncalves, father to Kaylee, told Today, "that our girl wasn't just you know something that people can just forget about."

Ethan's family also held a Gala for their foundation, Ethan's Smile—an organization dedicated to "providing scholarships that enable others to follow their dreams."

Stacy Chapin told Today of her son, "He just had this magnanimous personality. He could walk in the room and it just elevated any situation."

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The tragedy also left a lasting impact on the student body—a reminder about the importance of community.

"Just looking out for one another," Blaine Eckles, the Dean of Students, shared, "caring for one another, those have been lasting legacies from how we all came together from last fall."

Idaho Statesman via Getty Images

Kaylee, Madison, Xana and Ethan were killed in a fatal stabbing in an off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho, on Nov. 13, 2022. A little more than one month after the killings, Bryan Kohberger was arrested in connection to the crime. He was ultimately indicted on four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary in May, to which he pleaded not guilty during his arraignment. 

Though Bryan was initially scheduled to start trial this fall, in August he waived his right to a speedy trial. Per NBC affiliate KTVB in Boise, during the Aug. 23 hearing Bryan's lawyer, public defender Anne Taylor, told the court she didn't believe his case would be ready by the originally scheduled Oct. 2 start date. She further argued that the defense required more time to review evidence from the state as well as finish other processes before the trial could begin.

But while the legal system prepares for Bryan's trial—which has not been rescheduled yet at this time—the friends and family of the four students are taking comfort in their memories and community. 

"Kaylee, Maddie, Xana and Ethan still live on in stories and memories shared," a student said during the vigil in footage shared by Today. "And they will always be guiding those who love them."

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