The University of Idaho murders share eerie similarities with Ted Bundy’s homicidal attack on the Chi Omega sorority and Danny Rolling’s killing spree in a Florida college town, experts say.
“It’s strikingly similar to the Ted Bundy attack,” said Matt Hoggatt, a retired criminal investigator with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Mississippi. “Bundy had knowledge of the victims in the house, and it was a sort of frenzied attack with extreme violence.”
Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were savagely stabbed to death Nov. 13 between 3 and 4 a.m. in a rental house near campus in Moscow, Idaho.
Each victim had multiple stab wounds to the torso and some had defensive injuries, according to Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt.
In January 1978, Bundy broke into Florida State University’s Chi Omega house in Tallahassee at about 3 a.m. then beat and strangled two women to death – one of whom he sexually assaulted.
He then bludgeoned two other students within inches of their lives. After fleeing the crime scene, he broke into the nearby apartment of a University of Florida student and brutally beat her before a neighbor scared him off.
“Bundy enjoyed the hunt and the actual climax up to the murder. He enjoyed the anticipation and the plotting, and it’s kind of what it seems like here,” said Hoggatt, who previously worked as a detective with the Gautier Police Department.
But Bundy, who killed at least 30 women and girls, was a prolific serial killer – and retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente said there is no indication that the Idaho murder suspect had struck before.
“If it was a serial killer, I would expect him to kill everyone in the house, so I believe this was a targeted attack, totally different from Bundy, which was a random attack,” he said.
The Idaho college killer spared two roommates and a dog and didn’t sexually assault any of the victims, officials said. Idaho authorities have yet to identify a suspect or determine whether the assailant acted alone.
After learning of the quadruple homicide, forensics expert Joseph Scott Morgan said the first case that popped into his mind was serial killer Danny Rolling, also known as the Gainesville Ripper, whose crimes inspired Wes Craven’s 1996 horror film “Scream.”
In August 1990, Rolling knifed five students to death in Gainesville, Florida, during a four-day killing spree. He raped the four female victims and decapitated one of them.
“It involved knives, occurred in a college town but in off-campus houses, and Rolling went into these homes that had more than one occupant,” said Morgan, a professor of applied forensics at Jacksonville State University.
He said these were both “extremely high-risk” crimes.
“But all this is speculation,” Morgan added. “All that really matters right now is getting this person caught.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Moscow police at 208-883-7054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashley Papa and Haley Chi-Sing contributed to this report.