EXCLUSIVE: The family of one of the four University of Idaho victims killed in a shocking home invasion attack last month is looking to raise reward money for information in the case as the investigation hits the four-week mark without an arrest or any publicly identified suspects.
“Our family would like to fundraise in hopes to offer a reward, and possibly hire a private investigator if that becomes necessary,” Kristi Goncalves, the mother of 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves, told Fox News Digital Sunday.
Her daughter and three friends, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin, both 20, were killed in a rental house on King Road just steps off campus between 3 and 4 a.m. on Nov. 13.
All four had been stabbed to death, according to Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt – likely attacked in their sleep. Toxicology reports for the victims have not yet come back.
To raise funds, the family is supporting a pair of online fundraisers – a GoFundMe set up by Goncalves’ former boss Jeremiah Shea, and a GiveSendGo campaign from a family friend named Brooke Miller, Kristi Goncalves said.
“The money raised will go directly to getting us answers as well as helping to pay for Kaylee’s final arrangements and her celebration of life on Dec. 30,” she added.
The family had previously held off on announcing memorial plans.
When asked about the lack of a reward Saturday, police told Fox News Digital they were already receiving a steady supply of information in the case.
“Investigators continue to get good tips and leads and are focusing on those at this time,” police spokeswoman Robbie Johnson told Fox News Digital.
After they asked the public for help finding the occupant or occupants of a white 2011 to 2013 Hyundai Elantra seen near the victims’ home around the time of the slayings local police said they received such a deluge of calls that they asked the FBI to handle them.
“The global call center has the resources to take those calls, categorize them, and send them on to investigators, so they can utilize those tips in the investigation,” the Moscow Police Department said Thursday.
Outside experts with experience in similar investigations have told Fox News Digital that the earlier a reward is offered the better – especially when the number of investigators assigned to the task force will shrink over time.
“I would give out the reward now while they still have the personnel,” said Paul Mauro, a lawyer and retired NYPD inspector who has been closely following the case. “When it starts to dwindle is no time to put out a reward. You won’t have the bodies to investigate the tips.”
Pat Diaz, a private investigator, and former Miami-Dade homicide detective worked a high-profile child murder in the 1990s that resulted in an arrest and conviction after one such tip came in.
“One lucky lead, with all these sleuths out there, is gonna help you solve the case,” he told Wowplus news.
Months after Jimmy Ryce was abducted on his way home from school in 1995, the eventual suspect’s landlady and employer grew suspicious that he’d stolen from her. When she searched his trailer, she found the missing boy’s backpack inside and her missing gun, which had been used to kill the boy.
She had also seen a flyer with police contact information on it, he said, and she called in the tip.
Juan Carlos Chavez, 46, was arrested. He confessed, led police to the boy’s body and was later executed.
Separately, police have warned online sleuths following the case to avoid speculation – especially if it leads to threats and harassment.
“Investigators have been monitoring online activity related to this ongoing and active case and are aware of a large number of rumors and misinformation being shared as well as harassing and threatening behavior toward potentially involved parties,” Moscow police said in a statement Friday afternoon.
The University of Idaho held fall commencement ceremonies Saturday, holding a moment of silence in memory of the victims before new graduates walked.
Following the slayings, the school has reopened distance learning for students who may be reluctant to return to campus under the circumstances.