The house where four University of Idaho students were murdered has become a gruesome tourist attraction as true crime junkies are flocking to the quaint town.
Visitors are constantly stopping by to get a glimpse of the home in Moscow, Idaho, where Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, both 21, their roommate Xana Kernodle, 20, and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, were killed on November 13.
On Sunday morning, Amanda Padgett and her daughter rolled by the house in their station wagon, loaded up with luggage. They were on their way home to Spokane, Washington, after spending the weekend in Moscow to attend a Christmas celebration for her softball team.
They had been listening to true crime podcasts about the grisly stabbings and reading about it in the news.
The Idaho home where four students were murdered has become an attraction, with one woman saying she visited after hearing about the case on a podcast
‘We’re just curious,’ she said from behind the wheel of her car. ‘It’s shocking,’ she said of the crime. ‘It’s just more real to see it yourself.’
But no one knows what will become of the off-campus house in the unsolved case. Will it be demolished and rebuilt? Turned into a memorial to the co-eds? Or cleaned up and re-rented next semester?
The two men recorded as the most recent owners of the property, Scott Perky and Daniel Estey, are staying mum. Repeated attempts to reach the owners were unsuccessful and Estey told a neighbor not to talk if approached by journalists.
A private security firm has been contracted by investigators to keep an eye on the house at 1122 King Road and police tape surrounds the perimeter of the property.
Party lights still glow at night outside the third-floor room where two of the students lost their lives to a vicious killer.
Madison Mogen, 21, top left, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, bottom left, Ethan Chapin, 20, center, and Xana Kernodle, 20, right were murdered in their off-campus university home on November 13
Moscow Police Department, along with the FBI, are continuing the ongoing investigation into the deaths of four Idaho University Students
Co-owners of the Idaho murder house, Dan Estey (left) and Scott Perky, who both live in Colorado, now have to decide whether to demolish, turn it into a memorial or clean it out and rent it again
The house is the remaining physical manifestation of the quadruple stabbing and has begun to draw true crime buffs with a morbid fascination and a belief that they can solve the crime.
Padgett’s daughter, who she preferred not to name, wanted to see the house.
‘My daughter wanted to see it because she’s in high school and she’ll be in college next year,’ Padgett said.
‘I wonder if it’s a Ted Bundy-type or a student,’ she said, mulling over several theories.
Padgett touched on the challenges that the owners have in renting out the property in the future.
‘I wouldn’t want my daughter anywhere near this place,’ she said.
A private security firm has been contracted by investigators to keep an eye on the house and police tape surrounds the perimeter of the property
‘We’re just curious,’ said one visitor from behind the wheel of her car. ‘It’s shocking. It’s just more real to see it yourself’
No one knows what will become of the off-campus house in the unsolved case as the owners are remaining mum
Police have finished their forensic investigation of the murder scene, taking blood, hair and fingerprint samples, snapping photographs and bagging other items that could hold a piece of DNA leading to the killer. The belongings of the four students have been boxed up and removed from the house.
The students were stabbed to death in the early hours of November 13 in an unsolved case that has gripped the country, putting pressure on local police to solve the crime.
The investigation, which involved not only the local police department but 48 FBI agents and 28 Idaho State Police personnel, has been slow.
The only lead shared with the public is a white Hyundai Elantra, built between 2011 and 2013, which was seen in the area at the time of the murders. Detectives are looking for the driver and any passengers who they say may have crucial information about the gruesome crime.
And as true crime thrives in the popular imagination, its fans have begun to flock to sites across the country notable for only one thing – the violent atrocities that have happened behind their walls.
The Salt Lake City home of serial killer Ted Bundy from 1974 to 1975 has become a tourist attraction.
And the website Morbid Tourism is dedicated to locations just like the Moscow house.
‘Articles, podcasts, and pictures, though so very valuable, can’t possibly foster the same connection as location,’ according to Jewls Krueger, who runs the website. ‘If understanding this life and this world is the goal, then location is the conduit.’
She said that trekking to these locations in real life honors the dead.
Krueger’s website allows crime buffs to look up the locations of mass murders, abductions and shoot-outs.
She says on her website that she started it to honor Courtney Sconce, a 12-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Rancho Cordova, California, in 2000.
A website Morbid Tourism is dedicated to locations just like the Moscow house
The bodies of Kaylee and Madison were found on the top floor of the house. Ethan and Xana were found in a second-floor bedroom. Survivors Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke were sleeping on the first floor
Krueger, who was 11 when the crime occurred, said that people dedicated the street corner where Sconce was last seen as ‘Courtney’s Corner.’
‘I think about that corner a lot. Although I no longer live in Rancho Cordova, whenever I’m in town I make an effort to drive by Courtney’s Corner. Usually, there’s still a candle or ribbon left by someone who still remembers what happened, but the piles of teddy bears have long since vanished.
‘It makes me wonder, do people remember what happened here? People who moved into the neighborhood long after the news stories stopped airing, do they know about Courtney?’ she writes on her website. ‘They should – Courtney deserves to be remembered and people should know about her corner.’
Other locations in Idaho that can be found on the Morbid Tourism website, include Ruby Ridge, where doomsday prepper Randy Weaver and his family had a fatal stand-off with federal law enforcement.
The Coeur D’Alene house from the Wolf Lodge Murders also features, where three members of a family were killed by serial sex offender Joseph Duncan III, who also kidnapped an 8-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy from the home.
The boy was also eventually killed.
The Wolf Lodge property was purchased by the state of Idaho for wetlands preservation and the house was demolished.
Police have stacked up all of the personal items they no longer need for evidence and carried them into a U-Haul driven by the police chief himself
Authorities say DNA may have been present on the scene on different surfaces, and forensics crews are now working to run any specimens through state and local databases
In Villisca, Iowa, two and half hours north of Kansas City, a two-story home has become a mecca for crime buffs and fans of paranormal activity. That’s where J.B. Moore, his wife and six children were murdered with an ax in their beds on June 10, 1912. The crime is still unsolved 110 years later.
The owners of the house have turned it into a tourist attraction and it’s now listed on the Iowa Register of Historic Places. For $428 a night, six people can sleep in the house in their sleeping bags.
‘I don’t know why people come,’ said Martha Linn, who owns the house. ‘If it were just odd people with tattoos and piercings that would be one thing, but it’s not. It’s doctors, lawyers, teachers, students. I have a bunch of nurses who have come. There’s a social studies course in Nebraska that studies the crime and then comes to stay.’
In Fall River, Massachusetts the house where Lizzie Borden killed her parents with an ax in 1892 is now a bed and breakfast.
Padgett, who had just driven by to see the home where the crime occurred, said that she hoped the Moscow home would be turned into a memorial, not a tourist destination.
‘Eww,’ she said. ‘That seems kind of vulgar.’
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group