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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Nicole Blanchard and Rachel Spacek

University of Idaho victims’ families applaud arrest, but brace for ‘next chapter of this nightmare’

BOISE, Idaho — Stacy Chapin, mother of one of the four victims of the fatal stabbings in Moscow, was thankful but reserved in her response to Friday’s news that a suspect in the homicides had been arrested.

Chapin wrote on Facebook that she and her family were “relieved this chapter is over, because it provides a form of closure.”

Chapin’s son, Ethan Chapin, was killed Nov. 13 at an off-campus house along with fellow University of Idaho students Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves and Xana Kernodle, Chapin’s girlfriend.

Idaho officials and the victims’ family members expressed appreciation mixed with sadness following the arrest of 28-year-old Bryan Christopher Kohberger, of Albrightsville, Pennsylvania.

“We miss Ethan, and our family is forever changed,” Chapin wrote.

Kohberger, a Washington State University graduate student, was taken into custody on a “fugitive from justice warrant” in Chestnuthill Township in Monroe County, Pennsylvania.

Over the past six weeks, Chapin said her family was “confident” the Moscow Police Department, Idaho State Police and the FBI would solve the crime.

“Today, we marvel at the continued stories about Ethan and the lives he touched in his short 20 years,” Chapin said. “If we all lived and loved as Ethan did, the world would be a better place.”

In an interview with Fox News, Goncalves’ father, Steve Goncalves, said news of the arrest “feels like the first joy that we have had in seven days.”

“You can’t even smile when you have this over your head,” Steve Goncalves said. “And it feels like a little bit of weight has been relieved and things are on the right track, and we’re moving in the right direction.”

In an email to University of Idaho students and employees, President Scott Green said Kohberger’s arrest was “a relief for our community.”

“It has been a stressful time for our university, but we never lost faith that this case would be solved and are grateful for the hard work of the Moscow Police Department and their law enforcement partners,” Green wrote.

He also cautioned people about the “tough” months still to come for the victims’ families.

“The next few months will be tough on their friends and families as the legal system begins the process of publicly prosecuting these crimes to bring justice,” Green said. “Let’s keep them in our thoughts and prayers and continue to stand #vandalstrong.”

Elizabeth Chilton, Washington State University chancellor of the Pullman campus and university provost, thanked “law enforcement agencies that have been working tirelessly” in a statement Friday. Pullman is just across the state line, about 9 miles from Moscow.

“We also want to extend our deepest sympathies to the families, friends, and Vandal colleagues who were impacted by these murders. We will long feel the loss of these young people in the Moscow-Pullman community and hope the announcement today will be a step toward healing,” she said.

Moscow Mayor Art Bettge said in a news release that he hoped Kohberger’s arrest would bring some peace to the small community, which before the quadruple homicide hadn’t experienced a murder case in years.

“I hope today’s announcement of the arrest of a suspect in the case can begin to provide the answers that we have all sought in our attempts to understand this senseless act,” Bettge said.

In a statement, Idaho State Board of Education Vice President Linda Clark said the arrest “may provide some answers, (but) it will not ease the pain of losing four vibrant lives.”

“As we prepare to begin a new semester, I hope that a new sense of confidence takes hold among students, parents, faculty and the entire University of Idaho and Moscow communities,” Clark said.

Chapin’s family will need continued support from the Moscow community, Ethan Chapin’s mother said on Facebook, as they “enter the next chapter of this nightmare.”


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