Idaho student murders: Kaylee Goncalves’ mother says ‘left in the dark’ about police investigation


The mother of one of four college students killed near the University of Idaho last month expressed disappointment with police communications about the state of the investigation into the murders.

“Sleepless nights. You’re nauseous. Everything is left in the dark,” Kristi Goncalves, mother of 21-year-old victim Kaylee Goncalves, said in an interview that aired on NBC’s TODAY on Thursday.

Goncalves described the day he learned that something had happened to his daughter.

“We run around for hours not knowing what’s going on,” he explained. “… We learned by the people who called us. And the sheriff arrived about three hours later.”

Goncalves’ lawyer, Shanon Gray, met with the Moscow Police Department earlier this week and said investigators had failed to contact the families.

“Families should never learn information from a newsletter or an interview,” Gray told CNN. “They should find this information ahead of time.”

Goncalves said he learned that the police were interested in a white Hyundai sedan seen in the area at the time of the murders, not from investigators, but from reading a newsletter sent to him by someone else.

“My first thought is how long have they had this information? Where do they get this information? Was he on camera?” said Goncalves.

The Moscow Police Department disputed Goncalves’ characterization and told CNN they reached out to Goncalves’ lawyer via email the same day they made a request to the general public for information about the white sedan. The Moscow Police Department said on Thursday that authorities had weeded out tens of thousands of registered vehicles that matched the criteria for a vehicle detected near the residence on the night of the attacks.

“So far, we have a list of approximately 22,000 registered white Hyundai Elantras that fit our criteria,” said Chief James Fry in a video update. “We are confident that the people on or in the vehicle have information critical to this investigation.”

Goncalves said that when a woman from the coroner asked her 17-year-old daughter if she would like to know the findings, her parents learned the graphic details of her daughter’s autopsy.

“Are you sure you want to know that?” he asked. And my daughter said yes, thinking she did it for whatever reason. And he continued to tell her.

Goncalves told NBC she was frustrated with the interviews given by Latah County coroner Cathy Mabbutt.

“Every time we turn around, there’s another, there’s a new one – I don’t know if it’s new or old – I just run into them and I’m like, oh my god, how many of these did he do? said Goncalves.

The Latah County Coroner’s Office was not immediately available for comment.

The early morning murders of Kaylee Goncalves, 21-year-old Madison Mogen, 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, and Kernodle’s boyfriend, 20-year-old Ethan Chapin, shook Moscow’s small university town, Idaho. Who hasn’t recorded a murder since 2015.

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