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'This is disturbing': Internet theorizes Idaho killer may have been tracking victims through 'Snap Map'

One user said, 'How scary! For the love of God please turn off all locations and make your apps private. Don't expose yourself so much'
UPDATED DEC 25, 2022
University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves (L), Madison Mogen (C), Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin were stabbed to death (Instagram/@kayleegoncalves,@maddiemogen, @xanakernodle)
University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves (L), Madison Mogen (C), Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin were stabbed to death (Instagram/@kayleegoncalves,@maddiemogen, @xanakernodle)

This article is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.

MOSCOW, IDAHO: Numerous theories about the Idaho killer have surfaced after four students were brutally murdered in their beds. Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were stabbed to death in an off-campus three-story rented home in the early morning hours of November 13. No suspects have been arrested in connection with the killings of the University of Idaho students. 

As the killer remains at large, Internet sleuths have come up with the theory that the killer may have used 'Snap Map' to stalk the victims. For the unversed, Snap Map basically uses a device's location to locate users on a virtual map, which is visible to other people using Snapchat. 


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"I mentioned this in a comment on an earlier post, where OP brought up an interesting question regarding how it was seemingly a perfect storm that the killer knew that all four victims were asleep at the time— even if lights are out, it’s extremely common for people to stay up on their phones, or watching a show, etc. Especially with unpredictable sleep schedules of college students, and the fact the murders were committed on a weekend. This made me think about Snapchat," a user wrote on Reddit. "As a college student myself, I know how prominent this app is. There is a feature called the Snap Map which allows your friends to view your location and when you last opened the app. When it’s ~2 or 3 AM and someone as active as a typical college student hasn’t been seen on the app for over, say, an hour, it’s safe to assume they’re asleep. How else, without dumb luck, a perfect storm of events, or some sort of tip/bug, could the killer be certain enough that the victims are asleep? My theory is that the killer was known enough to the victims that he was a friend of all of theirs on Snapchat, waiting until he ensured that they were all more likely than not asleep (via Snap Map), and then struck. Again, as a college student myself, I will occasionally check the map to see what my friends are up to, if they’re awake, etc. I personally believe this is very plausible— let me know what you think."

"Had this thought a week ago. I was laying in bed and couldn’t sleep and my brain said someone’s watching your snap nap to see when they can break in and I instantly turned it off," one user said. "Can you opt out of the map feature? To me this is disturbing. I wouldn’t like ppl seeing where I’m at. But I know it’s not disturbing for young ppl. My daughters use Snapchat. Is Snapchat the one with all the filters? If so my wife and I downloaded it once to do the filters. But that was it. Didn’t actually use it. Don’t even know if that was Snapchat for sure we used. It had filters," wrote another. One user said, "Yes I 100% agree. While reading this post I was thinking about my younger cousins who live on snap chat. They are the same ages as the victims. I don’t think a lot of us are giving enough credit to social media having the evidence and playing some kind of role in this."

"I mean, I get it because I stay up on my phone too, but that’s when I go to bed at a decent time. If he knew they got home at about 1:45/2, he could probably safely assume that they would be sleeping by 3/4," one user said of the killer, one another said, "Definitely possible. I also keep thinking of the Delphi murders and how Libby was smart enough to literally record their killer as he stalked them from behind on her Snapchat app...and it STILL took 5 years to find the killer. She literally gives us a Huge, glaring sign as to who the potential killer was and it still took forever to find him. This makes me wonder what clues are on their girls' phones that we just won't know possibly ever...." 

"I think that's very plausible. Most adults like myself don't even know that feature existed. Lol. How scary! For the love of God please turn off all locations and make your apps private. Don't expose yourself so much. Keep a little of yourself mysterious and private. Trust me. You will survive in more than one way," wrote one user. Another said, "Good point. I remember checking snap maps all the time in college and you could tell when someone was sleeping. Sometimes if it’s been enough hours it’ll even show their bitmoji sleeping. The girls were obviously well known judging by social media. I’m curious if they’re the types who were on ghost mode or not."

The FBI reportedly recently added 30 extra agents to the case. It has also been revealed that the lead investigator in the case is reportedly 32-year-old US Army veteran Brett Payne, who joined the Moscow Police Department from the army in 2020, just two years ago.  

This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.