AS the murderer of four college students remains at large, Idaho locals have started to fear the deaths are connected to the murder and skinning of a dog in the area last month.
On November 15, University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found brutally stabbed to death in their Moscow, Idaho, home.
While officials have released little information on what led to the horrific murders, police warned last week that the suspected killer is “still out there.”
Law enforcement has said they believe the incident was a “targeted” attack and have few leads on a potential suspect.
However, some local residents have started to speculate.
On Sunday, the Daily Mail reported that in October a local man named Clint Hughes made a post on Facebook, accusing someone of skinning his neighbor’s dog.
“MOSCOW PUBLIC ALERT: This sounds like clickbait but it’s not. Last night after 2am, our neighbors’ sweet little dog was skinned like a deer,” the October 22 post reads.
“No animal did this. Our dog is bigger, and was so anxious about the same time that he tore his bed up into a thousand pieces. Also, our cat has been missing for the last couple of days.”
“Not sure if it’s tied to Halloween, and I don’t really care, I’ll be chambering all my firearms, and I would suggest everyone else in North Moscow do the same,” Hughes added.
Since then, a post in a Facebook group reportedly noted that two of the girls murdered last week were last seen in public just less than two miles away from where the dog had been killed, according to the Daily Mail.
The group also allegedly suggested that the weapon used to kill the students – suspected to be a “Rambo-style” knife – could have been used to skin a dog.
There was no sign of sexual assault, police have said.
Chapin, the sole male victim, did not live in the home but was visiting his girlfriend Kernodle.
Two other roommates were at home on the night of the murders and police later determined they were note involved in the crime.
If the four college students were awake during the attack, one expert has suggested that they might not have screamed for help because they were too shocked.
“People aren’t talking when they are focused on not dying. That doesn’t disturb me too much. It’s not TV,” Former Los Angeles Police Department Det. Mark Fuhrman told Fox News Digital.
“You might say something at first, but then you’re focused on stopping the attack.
On Saturday, Latah County Prosectuing Attorney Bill Thompson told reporters that officials are doing everything they can to identify a suspect in the murders.
“We’re trying to expedite everything that might possibly lead to a suspect,” he said, according to Fox News, adding that he wishes “we had more answers.”
While law enforcement has indicated the attack was isolated and “targeted,” some experts suggest that might have been a hasty decision.
“I think the police definitely jumped the gun with that statement,” former New York City Police Department Det. Herman Weisberg said to Fox News Digital.
“You have to have a suspect or a reason to say that. They have a murder mystery here. No forced entry, which could have led them to believe it was a crime of passion or someone who knew them.”
Fuhrman echoed that sentiment telling the outlet that it “doesn’t make sense.”
“The ‘targeted attack,’ even if that is true, it just doesn’t make sense,” he said.
“In my 20 years in the LAPD, I have never heard anything like that. You can’t make that determination that quick.
“…To have them say this was an isolated, targeted attack, they could be 100% right, but they have to have something that made them say that,” Fuhrman added.
Autumn Goncalves, the sister of one of the four victims, has also warned that the attack may not be isolated.
“No one is in custody and therefore no one is safe,” she wrote in a Wednesday social media post.
“Whoever did this … is still out there and if he is sick enough to murder FOUR sweet, innocent humans so brutally, he is sick enough to do it to anyone else.”