Mother of Idaho murders victim Kaylee Goncalves says evidence shows she was “trapped”

Mother of Idaho murders victim Kaylee Goncalves says evidence shows she was “trapped”

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It was not the news Steve and Kristi Goncalves wanted to hear. In August 2023, just six weeks before the murder trial of Bryan Kohberger was set to begin, he waived his right to a speedy trial. They would have to wait indefinitely for their day in court.

Kristi Goncalves: I was really hoping that, um, we could get this show on the road because the not knowing … it’s just, it’s agony. It’s agony.

Steve and Kristi, the parents of Kaylee Goncalves, haven’t left anything to chance. After the judge issued a gag order to attorneys and law enforcement “to preserve the right to fair trial,” they drilled down on their own investigation and are now sharing what they believe that investigation found. Steve says he believes transparency is the best path to justice.

Steve Goncalves: We’re not gonna just sit back and cross our fingers and pray that we’re gonna get justice.

SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS

It has been a long and painful journey for the families of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison “Maddie” Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin — the four University of Idaho students who were savagely murdered by a knife-wielding assailant in the wee hours of Nov. 13, 2022, as they settled down to sleep in their off-campus house on King Road.

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From top left, Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle.

CBS News


Peter Van Sant: Do you ever dream of your sister?

Jazzmin Kernodle: Yeah. I’ve had some dreams of her. There’s times where I prayed and asked God to see her another time and I did and just gives me some peace knowing that I know she’s OK.

Jazzmin Kernodle, who is speaking for the first time, was a senior at Washington State University and lived only 15 minutes away from her younger sister, Xana. Often mistaken as twins growing up, she says they were best friends.

Jazzmin Kernodle: She just was always fun. She was uplifting. And she took any bad situation and turned it into a good one. 

Peter Van Sant: Jeff, what did you love most about your daughter? 

Jeffrey Kernodle: Everything … she cared about people. She was a people person. She cared about her friends just as much as, like, her family. 

For the first time in her life, Xana had fallen in love … with fellow student Ethan Chapin, a triplet who loved his siblings, boats and working on a tulip farm.

Jazzmin Kernodle: The sweetest kid ever. They were just two happy people and they’re — just seeing the videos and photos of them you can just like tell how happy they are … they were just amazing together. 

Sadly, they will now forever be linked in death. On Sunday morning Nov. 13, Xana’s friends started calling Jazzmin saying something bad had happened on King Road.

Jazzmin rushed over to Xana’s house.

Peter Van Sant: And while you’re driving that eight, nine miles over to the house, are you trying to reach your sister then?

Jazzmin Kernodle: Mm-hmm.

Peter Van Sant: How many times did you call her? 

Jazzmin Kernodle: A lot. I called her a lot, called Ethan a lot.

Her next call was to her father. Jeffrey Kernodle had been visiting Jazzmin for Dad’s weekend and was on his way home.

Peter Van Sant: So, you answer the phone. What do you hear? 

Jeffrey Kernodle: I hear her kind of crying and just telling me to get back to Moscow and meet me at Xana’s house. And you know, my heart drops … instantly race back down there.

The house was cordoned off and swarming with investigators. As soon as Jeffrey said he was Xana’s father, he and Jazzmin were escorted to the Moscow Police Department.

Peter Van Sant: And Jazzmin, what does the officer say to you and your father? 

Jazzmin and Jeffrey Kernodle
Jazzmin and Jeffrey Kernodle

CBS News


Jazzmin Kernodle: I don’t — I don’t remember exactly. Just that four people passed away and that one was Xana (in tears). 

Jeffrey Kernodle: The worst day of your life, just your worst nightmare. This happened, you know, what do you do? You can’t do a damn thing.

One-hundred miles away, the Goncalves family also had been getting frantic calls saying something bad had happened to their daughter, Kaylee. But no one knew what.

Kristi Goncalves: I just kept saying, over and over, “What do I do? What do we do? What do we do?”

Finally, at around 4 p.m., a deputy appeared at their door. 

Steve Goncalves: And we said, “what’s going on?” … “I confirmed your daughter’s died. She’s passed away.”

Kristi Goncalves Then he said there were four victims. And I said, “four?” And he said, “Yes, ma’am.” … I said, “Can you tell us if one of the victims was Maddie Mogen?” And he said, “Yes, ma’am.” 

Maddie Mogen — Kaylee’s best friend from childhood.

Peter Van Sant: Give us a sense of just how close Kaylee and Maddie were in life? 

Kristi Goncalves: I think that they had a very amazing relationship … the epitome of true best friends from very early. … I mean they were sisters through and through.

Alivea Goncalves: They were completely inseparable.

As soon as the news hit, Alivea, the eldest of the five Goncalves children, and her parents went into detective mode.

Alivea Goncalves: We had zero details. We just knew they were gone.

Alivea got into her sister’s call log and frantically started cold-calling recent numbers. She says a friend told her that Kaylee had been at the Corner Club bar around 1:07 a.m. and later texted a rideshare driver, who Alivea managed to track down.

Alivea Goncalves: The rideshare driver said … around 1:45 Kaylee had texted him requesting a ride from the Grub Truck, which is the local mac and cheese food truck … to take her back home to 1122 King and she had with her another female.

Alivea then uncovered one of the most important leads in the case. The rideshare driver told her about a camera mounted on the Grub Truck.

Alivea Goncalves: So, I was able to look it up and find Kaylee on the video and I saw the girl that she was with was Maddie … So, at that point, I knew Kaylee and Maddie were together. They got into the car to go home together and alone. 

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Kaylee Goncalves and Maddie Mogen seen in surveillance video from the Grub Truck.

Grubtruckers/Twitch


The driver told her the exact time Kaylee and Maddie were dropped off at their house on King Road, 1:56 a.m. — a timeline she says she confirmed before the police.

Alivea Goncalves: I immediately took it to the police officers … “Here’s her phone information … Here’s … the rideshare driver’s name.”

Alivea says Kaylee made a call to her boyfriend at 2:56 a.m., but he didn’t answer. The Goncalves’ believe Kaylee fell asleep shortly after.

According to the police affidavit, Kaylee and Maddie were stabbed to death between 4 a.m. and 4:25 a.m. Just as they had done since they were little girls, they were sleeping in the same bed.

Kristi Goncalves (in tears): Those two best friends since little girls, I don’t think there’s anything more terrifying than what they went through. I really don’t.

The killer took four lives in a matter of minutes. But he left behind two surviving roommates — one of whom would provide a key description of the intruder.

NEW DETAILS OF KILLER’S RAMPAGE

If there is one picture that speaks to the Idaho student murders, it’s the one of six smiling college students blissfully unaware of the carnage to come.

Howard Blum: It’s staged in a way that is almost, in a strange way, ominously predicting.

Investigative journalist Howard Blum has written extensively on the student murders for Graydon Carter’s online magazine, Air Mail. He is now writing a book on the case.

Howard Blum: On the ends of the picture are the two survivors. … in the middle … are the victims … and they’re huddled together.

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” On the ends of the picture are the two survivors. … in the middle … are the victims … and they’re huddled together,”  investigative journalist Howard Blum says of the group photo taken the day before the murders.

Kaylee Goncalves/Instagram


Kaylee with a beaming Maddie on her shoulders – friends for life. Ethan with his arm around Xana – young love in full bloom. A moment that should have been a memory of their idyllic college years would eternally be a reminder of the gruesome murders that put them in their graves.

Howard Blum: What makes it so tragic is … They’re … forever preserved in this moment. … they’ll never be able to leave this moment.

Hours after the photo was taken, the four friends would be murdered; their deaths so violent, even the house seemed to be bleeding.

Bryanna Fox: There was literally blood oozing out from the home. Uh, you could see it on the exterior walls.

CBS News Consultant Bryanna Fox is a former FBI agent and professor of criminology at the University of South Florida.

Bryanna Fox: That’s how bloody and gruesome the crime scene is.

According to the affidavit, which outlines law enforcement’s investigation, the bodies of Xana and Ethan, who was sleeping over, were found in or near her bedroom on the second floor.

The bodies of Kaylee and Maddie were on the third floor in the same single bed in Maddie’s room.

Peter Van Sant: How did your — your daughter die in that house? What do you know?

Steve Goncalves: We know the autopsy. We know the means of what is officially how she died. … she was assaulted and stabbed.

Kristi Goncalves: Several, several times … her death certificate is the ugliest, disgusting-est piece of paper that you will ever see in your life.

Peter Van Sant: And every line is a horror show.

Kristi Goncalves: Every line because there’s causes of death and then there’s contributions to death.

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Best friends Maddie Mogen, left, and Kaylee Goncalves.

Maddie Mogen/Instagram


Kristi and Steve spoke to Coroner Cathy Mabbutt before the gag order was issued, and they say she told them how the two friends were positioned in the bed.

Kristi Goncalves: The bed was up against the wall. The headboard was touching the wall and the left side of the bed was touching the wall. And we believe that Maddie was on the outside and Kaylee was on the inside.

According to Mabbutt, the killer’s first victim was Maddie, says Steve.

Peter Van Sant: And then from Maddie, he moved on to your daughter. You believe she had awakened at that point?

Kristi Goncalves: Yes.

Steve Goncalves: There’s evidence to show that she awakened and tried to get out of that situation …

Kristi Goncalves: The way the bed was set up is what –

Steve Goncalves: She was trapped.

Kristi Goncalves: She was trapped.

We know from the affidavit that Kohberger’s cellphone pinged in the vicinity of the house 12 times prior to the murders. Steve says before the gag order, one of the lead investigators told him they believe Kohberger had been scouting out the house.

Peter Van Sant: You believe these visits were like — he was like on an intelligence mission, a scouting mission?

Kristi Goncalves: Yes.

Peter Van Sant: Looking at lifestyle patterns when they came and went, who came to the house?

Steve Goncalves: Yeah. Yeah. … he had to know when people were coming, people were going.

It makes the Goncalves’ wonder if he’d ever gone inside the house.

Kristi Goncalves:I think that he at least had opened that door, went in, tested the waters, looked around.

Steve says the coroner told him the killer’s rampage started on the third floor where both Maddie and Kaylee had their bedrooms. Kristi thinks he wasn’t expecting to find the two friends together in the same bed.

Kristi Goncalves: I do think that his plan went awry. I do think that you know … he intended to kill one and killed four.

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Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

Xana Kernodle/Instagram


Bryanna Fox also believes Xana and Ethan were collateral damage. According to the affidavit, Xana received a Door Dash food delivery at 4 a.m., then went back to her room on the second floor. It’s possible, says Fox, that Xana, still awake, came face to face with the killer.

Bryanna Fox: And she sees somebody that she doesn’t expect, and I don’t think he was expecting to see her either.

One of the two surviving roommates, Dylan Mortensen, later told the police that she heard what she thought was crying coming from Xana’s room. She heard a male voice say something to the effect “it’s OK, I’m going to help you.”  Not something a killer would likely say to an intended target, says Fox.

Bryanna Fox: He probably was trying to make a split-second decision: do I run away, do I kill her, what do I do? … and he decided to kill her.

At approximately 4:17 a.m., police say an outside security camera less than 50 feet from Xana’s room picked up distorted audio of what sounded like voices, or a whimper, followed by a loud thud. Shortly after, Dylan – the surviving roommate whose bedroom was near Xana’s – opened the door.

Howard Blum: According to the police affidavit, when Dylan opens the door, she saw a man dressed in black with a black mask, and she says he has bushy eyebrows. Those bushy eyebrows become very important when the police are making their identification.

The man with the bushy eyebrows kept walking to the rear of the house without harming Dylan.

Howard Blum: Why was Dylan not killed? Again … There’s no definitive answer … He — he didn’t kill her because he didn’t see her, he was sort of transfixed on getting out. … he didn’t kill her because he was satiated.

Or he was simply too depleted to kill again, says Fox.

Bryanna Fox: Even stabbing somebody for a minute and a half, not only is that overkill, but it actually would become rather exhausting.

The police believe the murder weapon – which has not been found – was a military style KA-BAR knife. The details are disturbing.

Bryanna Fox: This is not a civilian knife. … It was actually meant to tear apart bone, ligaments, organs. … So … this is extremely brutal … and something that you would never expect a person to walk in and want to commit unless they took some pleasure out of the brutality of it.

After seeing the intruder, Dylan, the surviving roommate, told investigators she locked herself in her room. It would be almost eight hours before 911 was called, causing an uproar on social media criticizing Dylan’s alleged inaction. But Bryanna Fox says it’s not unusual for people to freeze or be too afraid to intervene.

Bryanna Fox: She had no reason to, you know, know how to handle herself in that moment.

According to the affidavit, the male walked towards the back sliding glass door and presumably left the scene. But committing murder and getting away with it are two different things, says Fox.

Bryanna Fox: For an offender to get away with a crime, a murder, they have to bat a thousand. They have to be absolutely perfect — if they make one singular mistake, that’s all it takes.

And that one possible mistake in this case may have been the sheath to the KA-BAR knife — one was found on the bed next to Maddie Mogen. It would lead investigators to the door of a man studying for a career in criminology:  Bryan Kohberger, the alleged killer.

INSIDE THE INVESTIGATION

Peter Van Sant: Day after day and week after week passed and there is no suspect that is arrested. What was that time like for you?

Steve Goncalves: That was the worst.

For 47 days after the murders, the families of Kaylee, Maddie, Xana and Ethan — and the country – waited and wept and weighed in.

POLICE CHIEF FRY (to reporters): We do not have a suspect at this time.

POLICE CHIEF FRY (to reporters): People of Idaho and those throughout our nation who provided information has been very impressive. We received over 19,000 tips.

APTOPIX Four Dead University of Idaho
Arrest paperwork filed by Pennsylvania State Police in Monroe County Court, Friday, Dec. 30, 2022, said Kohberger, 28, was being held for extradition in a criminal homicide investigation in the killings of four University of Idaho students.

Monroe County (Pa.) Correctional Facility via AP


On Dec. 30, 2022, Bryan Kohberger was arrested in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania. At the time, his attorney said Kohberger looked forward to being exonerated.

Peter Van Sant: What goes through your mind when you see the face of the alleged killer?

Jeffrey Kernodle: Awe. I wonder, why – who is this? Why, you know? Never heard of the person before … it still is confusing. Why?

At this point, the families knew as much about Kohberger as the public did: a PhD candidate studying criminology just 10 miles away at Washington State University.

Alivea Goncalves: I remember thinking I only have a few minutes … to look up this individual and to try and get any credible information before things start getting wonky.

Some of Alivea Goncalves’ online discoveries of Kohberger made her uneasy.

Alivea Goncalves: He had made a few posts on Reddit in which he was conducting — seems like a questionnaire to people in prison or jail who had committed crimes … “how did you pick … your victim or your target?”

For seven weeks, the families and the country were left wondering.

Bryanna Fox: I think for this type of an investigation, 47 days is actually quick.

Criminologist and CBS News consultant Bryanna Fox says the Moscow police kept things moving, starting with a video canvass which produced footage from those early morning hours showing a white car making three passes by the girls’ house starting around 3:30 a.m. Less than an hour later, investigators say the killer struck.

Bryanna Fox: They noticed that this car approached King Road, left, came back, almost did a U-turn, finally went there around 4:06 in the morning, and that car then departed in about 25 minutes … and sped off.

Multiple surveillance cameras then captured that white car as it traveled what appeared to be a less direct route back to Pullman, Washington, arriving around 5:30 a.m.

That information helped investigators identify the make and model of the vehicle.

James Fry (YouTube): We’re looking for a 2011 to a 2013 Hyundai Elantra.

Howard Blum: Washington State Police find the car parked outside graduate housing. They get the license plate … and they get Bryan Kohberger’s name. … They then get driver’s license, and they see the bushy eyebrows that, in the eyes of one of the Moscow detectives, must be the eyebrows of the killer.

Now armed with a warrant, investigators retrieved cell tower data from that morning which captured Kohberger’s phone around 2:47 a.m. in Pullman when it suddenly stopped connecting to the network. According to the affidavit, this was also around the time cameras caught a white Elantra leaving his apartment complex.

Bryanna Fox: There was also an indication that he turned off his cellphone … which is something that a lot of people do when they wanna avoid law enforcement knowing their whereabouts.

His cellphone signal was picked up again two hours later south of Moscow as it traveled back toward his apartment building.

The affidavit described a deeper dive into Kohberger’s phone history that revealed this was a familiar neighborhood to him going back several months.

Bryanna Fox: Cellphone records … indicated that he has traveled, passed, and was very near the vicinity of this crime scene on 12 separate occasions.

And towers actually captured a 13th trip just hours after the murders.

Bryanna Fox: Anecdotally, a lot of killers … they like revisiting the memory … of the crime … you know, I won, I was able to get away with this and you guys won’t catch me.

Howard Blum: But they had one secret weapon to make their case. They had the knife sheath … and there was a microscopic spot of … DNA on this. Could they tie this DNA to Kohberger

According to the affidavit, the DNA was found on the button snap of the sheath but when investigators ran it through the national database, there were no matches.

It’s unclear if Bryan Kohberger knew law enforcement was watching when he left Washington in mid-December. Kohberger and his father, who had flown in from Pennsylvania, drove back home together in his white Elantra.

Howard Blum: Kohberger, from what I’ve heard, tells his father he’s in trouble with his job.

Howard Blum: He’s concerned enough about his son to wanna make the drive back with him.

Kohberger December traffic stop
Police released body cam video of Bryan Kohberger and his father being pulled over in Indiana on a December road trip home to Pennsylvania. The video was taken more than two weeks before Kohberger’s arrest at his family’s home.

Indiana State Police


On the 2,500-mile journey from Washington, they are stopped twice for traffic violations.

Howard Blum: What’s also interesting is Kohberger’s reaction to the police. He’s pretty calm and cool.

Father and son made it home to Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, where Blum says investigators initiated a stealth operation.

Howard Blum: What they did is they sent a team of Pennsylvania state troopers to Kohberger’s family’s house.

Law enforcement recovered Kohberger’s father’s DNA from the trash outside their home, which tested as a high probability it was the biological father of whoever left DNA on the knife sheath

Howard Blum: So, that was the eureka moment which they decided they could get an arrest warrant.

Bryanna Fox: At that point they made the arrest of Bryan Kohberger, and they got a separate — essentially a search warrant for his DNA.

And when investigators compared his DNA to the DNA on the knife sheath, they say it was a statistical match, at least 5.37 octillion times more likely to be Kohberger’s than anyone else.

POKING HOLES IN THE CASE

Peter Van Sant: Where you sit today, are you certain that Bryan Kohberger is the killer?

Kristi Goncalves (to Steve) With what you know.

Steve Goncalves: I don’t trust anybody or anything, so I have to see it myself. I have to see everything.

Kristi and Steve Goncalves
Kristi and Steve Goncalves with “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant.

CBS News


As the months pass, Steve and Kristi Goncalves remain a united front in wanting justice, but their wait has brought different perspectives.

Peter Van Sant: Your mind is still open to the potential —

Steve Goncalves: Of course.

Peter Van Sant: — that it could have been someone else?

Steve Goncalves:  Of course. Yep, I go into that 100 percent. Yep, course.

Peter Van Sant:  That’s not where you are?

Kristi Goncalves (looking at Steve):  No.

Steve Goncalves (to Kristi):  Yeah, that’s fine.

Bfryan Kohberger in court
Brian Kohberger during a court hearing.

Pool


Bryanna Fox: I don’t think there’s any slam dunk.

Criminologist Bryanna Fox says with the gag order in place, any hint of Kohberger’s defense has come from court documents.

Bryanna Fox: It seems that the defense is alleging there was a rush to judgment, law enforcement made an arrest too fast, and they focused on their client too quickly. 

A defense filing did reveal Kohberger’s alibi for the night of the murders. It simply stated, “Mr. Kohberger was out driving alone.”

Bryanna Fox: The defense is not necessarily having to prove that he’s innocent, they just have to raise doubt.

Both Fox and Howard Blum think the defense can find ways to poke holes in the prosecution’s case, challenging some of the key evidence presented in the affidavit – including the cellphone location data and the white Elantra.

Bryanna Fox: There’s other concerns such as whether Bryan Kohberger’s car was accurately identified at the onset … or if that was revised after knowing what Bryan Kohberger drove.

Howard Blum: The cellphone data … makes one suspicious of Kohberger, but it’s not convincing … It’s not putting … someone at someone’s doorstep, it’s putting … someone in someone’s neighborhood.

Howard Blum: If you can raise doubts about the validity and the accuracy of the cellphone data, I think you’re halfway there … to getting the case against Kohberger, either a hung jury or a not guilty verdict.

And there’s more according to the defense.

Bryanna Fox: That there is no DNA or forensic evidence found from the crime scene at the apartment, car, office or on Bryan Kohberger’s person. So, they were basically alleging how could he have committed such a brutal murder and yet have no evidence found on him of that.

After consulting their own investigators, Kristi and Steve Goncalves theorize that Kohberger likely brought what they call a “kill kit” with him.

Peter Van Sant: What do you mean by a kill kit?

Steve Goncalves: I think he had a backpack.

Kristi Goncalves: A change of clothes … We don’t know if it was coveralls, pants, hood, we don’t know.

A defense filing also claimed the presence of other, unidentified, male DNA was found on the premises.

Bryanna Fox: Three separate and distinct male DNA profiles were found from the crime scene. Two were inside the house, one was outside on a glove.

Howard Blum: The defense wants to know … who are these people, and what role could they have played in this whole story?

Howard Blum: So, what the defense is doing now is trying to look for other narratives that make sense.

Howard Blum has written extensively about this case, including a piece on a possible alternative defense theory involving drugs.

Howard Blum: Maybe someone had reneged on a drug payment, and this was … a retribution of vengeance for people not paying for drugs they had ordered.

Peter Van Sant: I want you guys to respond to one thing that’s out there … this speculation that somehow drugs were involved in this attack?

Steve Goncalves: That’s just Hollywood nonsense. I just dismissed that because I understand our society wants to believe in some of these movies that they watch … they don’t have these crazy lives where they’re crossing paths with people like that.

Kristi Goncalves: That storyline of it being drugs, gives people a reason to think why it happened, because nobody knows why. And the reason I think it happened is because he wanted to. That’s what he wanted to do. He wanted to commit a murder.

Bryan Kohberger’s defense attorneys argue there’s a lack of evidence linking their client to the students.

Bryanna Fox: The defense is claiming that the defendant, Bryan Kohberger, and the victims have absolutely no connection. There’s no motive.

In the minutes after Bryan Kohberger was publicly named, the Goncalves family went online.

Kristi Goncalves: They told us the name and we immediately started Googling.

They believed they had found a possible connection through Instagram and immediately took screenshots.

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Steve Goncalves


Kristi Goncalves: From our investigation of the account, it appeared to be the real Bryan Kohberger account.

Among the people this account was following were Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves — in addition to several people with the name Kohberger.

Steve Goncalves: But when we looked through there, it appeared to have other family members that were related to him.

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Steve Goncalves


At first, Steve Goncalves, who works in IT, was skeptical — thinking someone created a fake account in the minutes following Kohberger’s arrest. But according to the family, they uncovered more possible connections.

Kristi Goncalves: You would go to Maddie’s Instagram account and look at her pictures, and he “liked” them … Bryan’s name was under a lot of Maddie’s pictures. … liked her pictures, liked that picture, and that picture and that picture, and that picture. So, he was actively looking at the Instagram account.

Peter Van Sant: And the importance of that is what?

Steve Goncalves: Just digital evidence … that this particular account … had some type of connection with the victims.

“48 Hours” has not confirmed the authenticity of this account, which has since been deleted, and the gag order prevents investigators from commenting.

After dedicating months looking for their own answers, the Goncalves’ say they are mentally prepared for trial — no matter when it begins.

Kristi Goncalves: I think he is done. … He’s going to feel all of us just staring at the back of his head. And he’s going to know that we are the Goncalves family. And he knows, you know, what he did to our daughter.

COPING WITH THEIR GRIEF

Steve Goncalves: How could this happen to the group of kids that are … doing everything the way they’re supposed to do?

Kristi Goncalves: To not know is what keeps you awake at night. … and it’s every day, all day. It never stops. Why, why, why? There is no why.

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From left:  Kaylee Goncalves, Maddie Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

It is as unexplainable today as it was the day Kaylee Goncalves, Maddie Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were murdered.

Jazzmin Kernodle (in tears): I wish — I wish we knew. They were — all four of them were just such great people and made such an impact on the lives around them.

For now, the families are left with thoughts of what might have been.

PROVOST AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT (University of Idaho graduation): Kaylee Jade Goncalves has been recommended … to receive a posthumous bachelor’s degree. Her family will receive the diploma of the University of Idaho.

On May 13, 2023, exactly six months from the day of the murders, an occasion that would have been a cause for celebration, graduation, was, instead, another reminder of what was lost.

Kristi Goncalves (wiping tears): Seeing all those graduation photos, it just — they should be here.

Graduation is just one of many milestones that will be missed.

Jazzmin Kernodle: She would’ve been my maid of honor and I probably would’ve been hers. And it’s, like, sad to have to go through those life moments without her.

 Alivea Goncalves: The memories that we share … we don’t do it lightly, because they are very private memories and sometimes it feels like I’m giving away a part of them. … But I do it for the importance … to realize, how great of a loss it is. … because nothing is going to bring them back.

Jazzmin Kernodle planned to work side by side with her sister Xana, creating their own marketing business.

Jazzmin Kernodle It’s just not the same without her because she just brought like such a crazy different energy than anybody else I’ve ever met.

Kaylee Goncalves’s future was in sight. She had accepted a job in Austin working for an IT firm. Kaylee not only pushed herself, say her parents, but pushed them.

Steve Goncalves: We lost that person that would force us to make new memories and force us to go and take on something that seems a little daunting at first

For the Goncalves,’ amid all the loss, there was an addition to the family. In February, Alivea gave birth to a baby girl.

Alivea Goncalves: So, her name is Theodora MaddieKay. Obviously, MaddieKay is after Maddie and Kaylee.

And if one were to believe in signs, there were, says Alivea, several with Theodora MaddieKay’s arrival. In the hospital, her room number, 1113, was the same as the date of the murders: November 13. And eerily, the time of birth, 4:21 a.m., is in the timeframe that Kaylee and Maddie are believed to have been killed.

Alivea Goncalves: To have birth and life and firsts …  first giggles, first walks … that they would be there somehow, you know, even if it’s just a namesake.

The families of Kaylee, Maddie, Xana and Ethan have all searched for ways, sometimes together, to cope with a horrible new normal.

Jazzmin Kernodle: We all are always gonna be there for each other and it’s just, difficult. We all — we’re all going through it in our own ways.

CBS News
Jim and Stacy Chapin created a foundation, Ethan’s Smile, raising money for scholarships by selling tulips planted in honor of their son, Ethan, who had worked at a tulip farm. 

For Ethan’s parents, Stacy and Jim Chapin, one way of coping involves creating a foundation, Ethan’s Smile, raising money for scholarships by selling tulips planted in honor of Ethan, who had worked at a tulip farm.

Jim Chapin: Ethan had a great smile, smiled all the time.

Stacy Chapin:  So, Ethan will live on through the foundation … that’s what motivates us to, to do this.

Peter Van Sant: How do you live with this, Jeff?

Jeffrey Kernodle: It’s not easy. You just got to keep going, you know.

Jazzmin Kernodle: I think just like living our lives like Xana would want us to. …  I know that she would want us to talk about the life that she lived and to be her voice right now.

Kristi Goncalves (looking at photos): She had a beautiful smile. Her and Maddie …

Alivea Goncalves: The memories that we share … we don’t do it lightly, because they are very private memories and sometimes it feels like I’m giving away a part of them. … But I do it for the importance … to realize, how great of a loss it is. … because nothing is going to bring them back.

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