MOSCOW, Idaho — As detectives skip Thanksgiving celebrations to continue their search for a suspect in the unsolved murder of four University of Idaho students, a third unsolved stabbing in the Pacific Northwest has returned with eerie similarities.
Reporters at a news conference Wednesday asked Moscow police about the possible connection between the student killings and a second, unsolved stabbing that left Travis Guttin dead and his wife Gamelyn seriously injured in Oregon.
Authorities say an intruder attacked the couple while they were sleeping around 3 a.m. on August 13, 2021.
Travis Goten, 26, fought back, but later succumbed to his injuries. His wife, who is 26 years old, survived 19 stab wounds.
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“We’re looking at every avenue, and we’ve got other agencies reaching out to us about other issues, things that we’re going to pursue,” Moscow Police Chief James Frey said Wednesday. He said that his office knew about the case and was looking into it, but the two cases were not officially linked.
The next morning, the Idaho Tribune reported that a third attack was nearby with similar characteristics.
Sandra Ladd, 71, was found dead in her home in Washougal, Oregon, on June 14, 2020, according to Oregon authorities. Washougal police said at the time that her death was ruled a homicide after the coroner found multiple stab wounds to her torso.
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The Oregon attack took place 14 months apart but within 70 miles of each other. The sites are located about a five hour drive west of Moscow, Idaho.
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University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20, Zana Kernodel, 20, Madison Muggin, 21, and Kylie Goncalves, 21, were hacked to death in their sleep on November 13, 2022 between 3 and 4 a.m. in a rented home off campus. According to the police.
Like the attack on the Juettens, the incident occurred between 3 and 4 am on the 13th.
Details of the timing of Ladd’s death were not immediately clear. Her body was discovered at 4:30 p.m. — in her bed, The Oregonian reported at the time.
In all three cases, no suspect has been identified.
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Aaron Snell, director of communications for the Idaho State Police, told Fox News Digital Thursday that investigators will be looking into any possible connection between the cases.
“Unequivocally, even without asking anyone, our investigators will be aware of this,” he said. “They will consider the possibility that they could be related… Anything that would be a remote possibility as a connection would be something we would consider.”
He said investigators “didn’t rule out any idea or concept” but it was too early to say definitively whether any of the three cases were relevant.
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State, local and federal investigators spent the Thanksgiving holiday at work Thursday, searching for clues 11 days after the students were found dead at a gruesome crime scene just feet from campus.
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Police said two housemates, who were sleeping downstairs, were not attacked.
They were ruled out as suspects, along with several other people who had met some of the victims the night before they were killed.
Moscow police said they believed the killing of the students was “targeted”, but declined to elaborate.
No murder weapon has been found and the detectives are asking anyone with surveillance video of the surrounding area to send it in.
They were also looking into reports that Goncalves had been stalked prior to the attack.
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“Kylie mentioned the existence of a stalker, but investigators were unable to confirm the authenticity of the statement,” the police said in a statement. “Investigators are asking anyone with information about a potential stalker, or unusual cases, to call the tip line.”
Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the tip line at 208-883-7180 or email [email protected].