Expert: Idaho slayings similar to crimes that inspired 'Scream' movies

Idaho butcher case is similar to ‘Gainesville Ripper’ who murdered five women with a military combat knife in 1990 and inspired the Scream movies, says expert

  • A crime expert says the recent murders of four University of Idaho students remind him of the ‘Gainesville Ripper’ murders 
  • Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle,  20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found stabbed to death on November 13 in Moscow, Idaho 
  • Crime expert Joseph Scott Morgan recently told The Sun the Idaho murders remind him of the gruesome killings in Gainesville, Florida, in 1990 
  • Over four days in August 1990, five students were brutally stabbed to death in Gainesville, Florida; one of them had her head decapitated 
  • Danny Rolling, known as the ‘Gainesville Ripper,’ was widely credited with inspiring the popular ‘Scream’ franchise 

A crime expert is now comparing the grizzly murders of the University of Idaho students to the ‘Gainesville Ripper’ from 1990 whose crimes inspired the ‘Scream’ franchise. 

Joseph Scott Morgan, a professor of applied forensics at Jacksonville State University, recently told one outlet that he believes the murders of the four students are reminiscent of the crimes that sent shock and panic through Gainesville, Florida, in 1990. 

‘I remember back then the parents were terrified at the University of Florida because of this,’ Morgan told The Sun. 

‘And you see that kind of playing out here too,’ the expert continued. 

The four University of Idaho students who were found dead in off-campus housing

Danny Rolling, known as the ‘Gainesvile Ripper,’ killed five young students in Florida in 1990

Joseph Scott Morgan, a crime expert, says he sees similarities between the murders of the University of Idaho students and the 1990 ‘Gainesville Ripper’ murders 

Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found stabbed to death in off-campus housing in Moscow, Idaho, on November 13. 

Two other roommates, Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke, were at home on the night of the attack but miraculously survived. 

Now, Morgan is making the comparison to slayings by killer Danny Rolling in 1990 that left five young students dead in Florida. 

All of the victims attended Gainesville-area colleges and universities. 

The first two killings occurred August 24, 1990, when Rolling broke into an apartment shared by 17-year-old freshmen Sonja Larson and Christina Powell. The women were both brutally stabbed and posed in sexually provocative positions.

The following evening, on August 25, 18-year-old Christina Hoyt was stabbed to death and decapitated inside her apartment. Her head was left on a shelf.

The first two killings occurred August 24, when the assailant broke into an apartment shared by 17-year-old freshmen Sonja Larson and Christina Powell. The women were both brutally stabbed and posed in sexually provocative positions

18-year-old Christina Hoyt was stabbed to death and decapitated inside her apartment. Her head was left on a shelf

Tracy Paules and her male roommate, Manny Taboada, both 23, were both stabbed to death when the assailant broke into their home on August 27, 1990

Then, just two days later, Tracy Paules and her male roommate, Manny Taboada, both 23, were both stabbed to death when the assailant broke into their home.

Paules was raped and her body was left posed. 

Rolling was later identified and arrested in connection to the crimes. He was convicted in 1994 and sentenced to death and executed in 2006.

Morgan told The Sun that the crime in Idaho feels eerily similar to how it is impacting the community.

Police in Moscow have said they cannot confirm there is no threat to the community at this time, leaving many to wonder if the attacker could attempt to harm others. 

‘Please stay vigilant, report any suspicious activity and be aware of your surroundings at all times,’ police officials said after the murders. 

The popular ‘Scream’ franchise was inspired by Rolling’s gruesome murders in Gainesville

Five Gainesville-area college students were gruesomely murdered in 1990, which later inspired ‘Scream,’ which premiered in 1996

Blood drips down the outside of the wall of the house the four students shared. Investigators describe it as the worst crime scene they have ever seen

As for the photo from the Idaho crime scene showing blood dripping out of the house, the forensic expert said, ‘I don’t know that I have sufficient verbiage for that.’ 

‘I don’t know in all of my years of working multiple death scenes where I ever have seen blood that is seeping outside of a residence.’ 

Now, Morgan says it’s the unknown, similar to Florida, in the Idaho slayings that is driving many to fear. 

Police also have not been able to confirm if the attack on the students in Idaho was targeted or if the students knew the attacker. 

Morgan said: ‘You begin to think, was the perpetrator known so that the victim would let their guard down and open the door for them?’

Kaylee Goncalves (left) and her best friend and roommate Madison Mogen

Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle. Kernodle lived at the house with the other two women who were killed, plus two more roommates. Chapin, Kernodle’s boyfriend, was staying at her home

He also wondered if it could have been ‘someone waiting for them back at the apartment.’ 

If that’s the case, Morgan suggested that police ensure the public is on the same page as the police.

‘Everybody needs to be on the same sheet of music,’ Morgan said.

‘They have got to reassure the community that everybody is OK,’ he continued. 

Police in Moscow, Idaho on Friday released a map showing the last known movements of the four students murdered in the early hours of Sunday. They were stabbed to death, possibly in their own beds

The statements made by Morgan come just days after revealed that police still have ‘no viable suspect’ nor any ‘evidence that could lead to a suspect.’ 

Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said the already complex investigation has also been hampered by the Thanksgiving holiday because many potential witnesses are students who have already left the small college town of Moscow for the break.

Speaking in an interview with, Thompson said: ‘I have heard nothing to indicate they have identified a viable suspect or heard evidence that could lead to a suspect.’

He added: ‘It could very well be [a lengthy investigation] – I think that all depends on the answers they’re able to find

James Fry, chief of Moscow police, is seen on Wednesday addressing a press conference

Fry confirmed that they still had not identified a suspect in Sunday’s killing, and confirmed there were two roommates in the house at the time of the murders Fdylan

‘If they’re lucky, they will find answers for who is responsible for this and what happened quickly, or it could be they don’t get those answers quickly and have to keep digging.’

Thompson’s comments came as the Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt released the official autopsy results and listed stabbing as the cause of death for all four victims.

Mabutt told NBC News the four had ‘extensive ‘ wounds and the murder weapon would have been ‘a bigger knife.’

‘It’s pretty traumatic when you have four dead college students who have been stabbed to death in one location,’ Mabbutt said.

‘We’re looking to see if there are some clues that are on them – some of the suspect’s blood, perhaps, or something under somebody’s fingernails.’

The crime happened between 3 and 4am, police confirmed. 

Cops are seen investigating tire marks outside the Moscow, Idaho property where four students were murdered last week, as the hunt for their killer continues

Police received a 911 call at 11.38am with a report of an ‘unconscious person’ but discovered a bloodbath and pronounced all four dead at the property with death officially declared at noon according to the autopsy report.

Sources close to the investigation described the scene inside the home as ‘the worst they’ve ever seen’ while blood could still be seen oozing through the walls of the modest gray clapperboard property as late as Tuesday morning.

Thompson told he had heard ‘a preliminary version’ of their story and said neither are suspects but that they will face a more in-depth interview.

He said: ‘I have some preliminary information from when this was first reported on Sunday but unfortunately, it’s the type of information we can’t share publicly because if it was publicly known, it could compromise the investigation.

‘I can tell you that the investigators have been working to have a more comprehensive follow-up interview with the housemates and I have not heard the results of that yet.’

Kaylee Goncalvez, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, are believed to have been calling a ‘young man’ named ‘jack’ just minutes before they were killed in a brutal stabbing alongside Ethan Chapin, 20, and Xana Kernodle, 20 

In the meantime, police are working on the complicated task of contacting all potential witnesses – an effort that has been hampered by students leaving town for the Thanksgiving break.

He said: ‘One of the challenges is that many of the witnesses – people who knew and met the victims – are students and have gone home this week.

‘They’re scattered all over the western United States so investigators are trying to locate them and make arrangements to interview them which is difficult long distance because we advise our officers not to do telephone interviews.

‘In a criminal investigation, we really prefer they have face-to-face interviews with everybody. That is just one of the challenges investigators are dealing with.

Police appealed for assistance in tracking down the killer or killers

‘We’re very fortunate that State Police have assigned a number of their investigators to help the Moscow Police Department and the FBI have also brought in a team of their investigators to help out. Just to have the manpower out there to find people and talk to them.’

Police have also been conducting a search of trash cans located close to the property in an effort to find the murder weapon – believed to be a large knife, possibly made by the Olean, New York, company KA-BAR, which are used by the US Marines and other military.

Moscow Police Chief Jim Fry has only referred to the murder weapon as an ‘edged weapon’.

Scott Jutte, general manager of the Moscow Building Supply, told the Idaho Statesman that police had questioned him about whether he sold the Rambo-style knives – but he doesn’t.

The murder scene home is on King Road in Moscow, a quiet cul de sac near the University of Idaho campus

‘They were specifically asking whether or not we carry KA-BAR-style knives, which we do not,’ Jutte said. ‘If we did, we could’ve reviewed surveillance footage. But it wasn’t something I could help them with.’

Police have faced sustained criticism – including from the victim’s families – over what they see as a slow reaction and a lack of transparency that has followed the brutal murders.

Ethan Chapin’s father Jim released a statement slamming the cops.

‘There is a lack of information from the University of Idaho and the local police which only fuels false rumors and innuendo in the press and social media,’ Chapin Sr. said.

‘The silence further compounds our family’s agony after our son’s murder. For Ethan and his three dear friends slain in Moscow, Idaho, and all of our families, I urge officials to speak the truth, share what they know, find the assailant and protect the greater community.’

Eyes all round: There are multiple homes near the property but so far, no neighbors have come forward with any information that has led to the killer 

This is the sliding door that one of the girls’ fathers believe may have been used by the killer to gain access to the home in the early hours of Sunday morning. All four victims were stabbed in their beds

Kaylee Goncalves’s sisters have also spoken out, begging parents of students at the University of Idaho to remove them from campus.

Autumn Goncalves wrote on Instagram: ‘No one is in custody and therefore no one is safe. Whoever did this to my sisters (Maddie and Kaylee) 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.’

She continued: ‘Our family was dreading the answer for ‘how’ and we all knew that no matter the answer, we wouldn’t like it, but we got back the worst possible answer.

‘The most gruesome way. One person against four. This person is dangerous and he is not in custody!!! How police say ‘no threat’ MAKES NO SENSE.’

She said Maddie and Kaylee, who grew up together in the Couer d’Alene area, did everything right.

‘They went out together. They locked their doors,’ she wrote.

‘They were smart and they were fighters and this STILL happened. No one is safe. Please get your loved ones home.’

Another sister, Aubrie, said the lack of information had led to wild rumors. ‘This had nothing to do with drugs, and the accusations that people are throwing at Maddie, Kaylee, and her friends are extremely hurtful to read.

‘They did nothing wrong and took all the precautions they should’ve, and they were still killed,’ she added.

Like her sister Aubrie begged students to leave town. ‘Your grades are severely less important than your lives,’ she wrote.

‘You guys are not safe until this sicko is found.’

A third Goncalves sister, Alivea, told Chris Cuomo on News Nation:’ There’s nothing – no boy problem, no threat, no high risk lifestyle that could have indicated this. It has taken all of us completely by shock and we have absolutely no ideas.’

Alivea said she accepted that authorities in small-town Moscow are ‘overwhelmed’, but added: ‘I want more coverage I want more done. I want more people speaking out.’


The two University of Idaho students who survived the crazed knife attack that left four of their friends dead at their shared off-campus rental house are students Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke, can reveal.

On Wednesday, police revealed both Dylan and Bethany were in the modest Moscow home at the time of the attack but miraculously survived the carnage.

Speaking to, Idaho State Police spokesman Aaron Snell said the two survivors are helping police with their investigation but would not give further details of how they survived or whether either Dylan or Bethany called 911 later on Sunday morning. can reveal the two roommates who escaped death while their four friends were knifed at their off-campus house are Bethany Funke (left) and Dylan Mortensen, (right)

He also told the pair are not suspects but said every possibility is being looked at by the investigative team which now includes detectives from the Idaho State Police and the FBI as well as the Moscow Police Department.

Neither Dylan, 19, who is from Boise, Idaho, nor Bethany, a member of sorority Phi Beta Phi, have responded to messages from and both have locked their social media profiles.

But both girls appear frequently on accounts that belonged to Madison and Kaylee – including a poignant Instagram post made by Madison on August 16 that shows all five girls together posing happily on the back porch of the home where three of them died on Sunday.

The two girls also appear in photos posted by Kaylee hours before she died which she captioned: ‘One lucky girl to be surrounded by these ppl every day’.

Another set of photos showing Dylan and Kaylee together was posted last Friday night and shows the pair dressed up for a night out.

Dylan Mortensen (left) and Bethany Funke (middle) lived in a modest Moscow rental house with fellow University of Idaho students Xana Kernodle (second from left) Kaylee Goncalves (second from right) and Madison Mogen (right)  


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