University of Idaho could see 'collapsing enrollment' unless police solve students' murders, lawmaker says

An Idaho state lawmaker predicted "collapsing enrollment" at the University of Idaho unless police solve the quadruple homicide that took place over three weeks ago at an off-campus residence.

"I think, actually, it’s going to be a snowballing disaster if they don’t get to the bottom of it. I’m really concerned that we’re going to see dropping enrollment at U of I. My daughter's best friend is there. I know folks who are there who do not want to go back," Idaho House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, a Democrat who represents parts of Boise, told local news outlet KHQ on Tuesday.

"I think they’re going to see collapsing enrollment. They’re going to see people transferring out. Nobody wants to send their kids to a community where they could face this kind of horror. It's every parent's worst nightmare, it's every student's worst nightmare. They have got to find the perpetrator."

Idaho Gov. Brad Little directed $1 million in state emergency funds for the investigation last month. More than 100 law enforcement officers are investigating the murders, including 13 investigators and 15 troopers from the Idaho State Police. The state's forensic services lab has also prioritized evidence testing for the case.

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Police still have not identified a suspect or located a murder weapon in the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20.


A split photo showing the crime scene and the victims, including University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21. (Angela Palermo/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images/Inst

The university boasts a student body of about 11,500 people, with Moscow having a population of about 25,000.

The school estimates that anywhere from 25% to 40% of the student body has not returned to campus since the murders on Nov. 13. Professors have been instructed to work with students if they want to learn remotely for the rest of the fall semester.

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Police have urged the campus community to report anything out of the ordinary as the investigation enters its fourth week.

"Your information, whether you believe it is significant or not, might be the piece of the puzzle that helps investigators solve these murders," Moscow police said.

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A spokesperson for the University of Idaho did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday.