Surviving roommates of slain University of Idaho students break silence

POST FALLS, Idaho — Two roommates who survived the stabbing that claimed the lives of four University of Idaho students last month broke their silence Friday in letters read during a memorial service for the victims.

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The roommates were home but sleeping early on the morning of Nov. 13, when police said that Ethan Chapin, 20; Xana Kernodle, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21; were killed at an off-campus home where all but Chapin lived. Last month, police said they had ruled out the surviving roommates as suspects in the case.

The families of three of the victims gathered with community members Friday at Real Life Ministries in Post Falls to remember their loved ones, KXLY-TV reported. A pastor also read letters from Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke, the two roommates who survived the stabbing, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Mortensen wrote that the victims “changed the way I look at life,” the newspaper reported.

“My life was greatly impacted to have known these four beautiful people,” Mortensen said in her letter, according to CNN. “My people who changed my life in so many ways and made me so happy. I know it will be hard to not have the four of them in our lives, but I know Xana, Ethan, Maddie and Kaylee would want us to live life and be happy and they would want us to celebrate their lives.”

Funke remembered Goncalves as funny, sweet and giving, CNN reported. She said that Chapin had “the brightest, most fun personality” and that Kernodle was “loving, fun, energetic, funny (and) passionate,” according to the news network. She added that the couple “made people believe in true love.”

She remembered Mogen as the older sister she never had, the Statesman reported.

“You always told me that everything happens for a reason,” Funke wrote, according to the Statesman. “But I’m having a really hard time trying to understand the reason for this.”

Mogen’s boyfriend, Jake Schriger, and family members also took the stage on Friday.

“Maddie was my best friend,” Schriger said, according to KXLY. “She was the first person I talked to every morning, the last person I talked to before bed.”

The motive behind the Nov. 13 killings remained unclear on Monday. Police said on Monday that they have so far received thousands of tips and more than 100 pieces of physical evidence, though no suspect has been identified. Officials have not recovered the weapon used in the slayings.

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