Goncalves family persists a year after daughter Kaylee was murdered (2024)

A year after University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, Maddie Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Kaylee Goncalves were senselessly murdered, NonStop Local KHQ continues to tell the stories of the families and Moscow community. We're also following the legal proceedings for the man suspected of killing them. You can find our full special,Idaho Murders: One Year Later, by clicking here.

COUER D'ALENE, Idaho — A year ago, two of the strongest people you'll ever meet lost one of the most inspiring daughters you could ever know.

On Nov. 13, 2022, Kaylee Goncalves was one of four University of Idaho students killed in an off-campus house. In the year since, Steve and Kristi Goncalves have gone through every birthday, holiday and anniversary without their daughter.

NonStop Local's Sean Owsley sat down with Steve and Kristi this month to hear directly from them how they're coping with the grim milestone and how they feel about the quest for justice so far. The following is a partial transcription of that interview, edited for clarity.

Kristi Goncalves: Somehow rolling into November really has, you know, you didn't really think much about it. You know, people would say it to me and mentioned it to me. And of course, you know, I'd be like, 'yeah, I don't need to be reminded.'

But there's something that has come along really strong with this month of November. The weather and everything that came along with it has some deep significant reminders of losing Kaylee and Maddie (Mogen) and it's been rough. It's been really rough. And you just, you just miss them. And the longer they're gone, the more they miss, and the more you miss them, and the more you realize how badly you really have been robbed all of our pictures, that's all we got, you know, all of our videos, that is everything we have, okay. And it's just as it's, um, it's insane. It's just as crazy that she was, just (a year ago today), she was here.

Steve Goncalves: There's just no right way to do something like this; it shouldn't be something a family should ever have to go through. We're just going to kind of try to figure it out as it happens, but you know, we lean on the community and the people that we've met, and all the love and all the support that we get. There's a massive amount of support it not just locally, but literally worldwide.

Sean Owsley:Let's talk about the wheels of justice. Last time we talked, there was a date. It's been moved back. Just where are you with the legal system right now? What do you expect going forward? What do you want to say on that?

Kristi: It's gut-wrenching how slow everything has to go. Why does this have to be so drawn out? It's important, I get it, but there are facts, we have certain facts, we have certain knowledge. I can't believe that this is how it works.

Steve: They had the whole schedule laid out.

Kristi: We had the date. We have no date. Even today, people are like 'oh Kristi, we got some progress, they got some progress today,' and I'm like, 'progress? December 1? That's not progress, that's a whole 'nother month away.'But they're like, 'that's better than not having any dates,' and I'm like 'you're right, Yes, it is."

Steve: That's important to bring up. There are some people who never even get to find the person who did this. We think that the police department, Moscow, the FBI — I'm still learning about what they did and how they put things together. It's amazing the resources we were able to have. We'll do whatever it takes as a community to get this person taken care of. And so we can all move on.

With that type of determination from law enforcement and investigators, does it at least provide some solace?

Steve:Yep. And when I see them, going into that house and constructing a crime scene and going through and doing all their work, it's just more evidence. It's not less, it's more evidence. So then, when we do go to trial, there'll just be more good days than there is those 'what if?' days.

Kristi: I don't think it'll be good days.

Steve: Well, knowing evidence and knowing that they've got the right person and everything.

Kristi:Yeah, I just can't imagine. I mean, we think we don't have a lot of answers. I just can't imagine a mother with a missing child. Or a dead child that you have no idea how it happened.

Steve: Some people might think their kid might be alive.

That says a lot about you both in your absolute grueling, most agonizing time you also think about others. I do want to shine a light on the darkest year that you've had. There have been periods of kindness from people, you know, from people you don't know. What has that meantto you? Maybe give us an instance of something that took you back that people went so far out of their way to say, we care about you?

Kristi: We have received a tremendous amount of gifts. Every single one of them are absolutely meaningful to me. We get pictures drawn by little kids that says, you know, 'my 9-year-old drew this, she just really wanted,' to and you know, it's a picture of Kaylee and Maddie, you know, with flowers.

It's meaningful. I love it. I love getting that stuff and opening it and reading them. People write you letters, like pages and pages and pages and every single word that they say, you find so much comfort in it. They're telling us that they're crying with us, and they're grieving with us, and they have kids like us, for example that picture over there.

Goncalves family persists a year after daughter Kaylee was murdered (1)

(It's a) real picture of Kaylee in the arms of Jesus walking, welcoming her into heaven is the feeling I got from it. When I unwrapped it, it was facedown, and I turned it around, and I about fell to my knees. I mean, I honestly it really took me aback.

And that came from an artist in Alabama that you don't know?

Kristi:I know. We don't know her.

What did it what did it do for both of you when you first saw it?

Steve: It still helps every single day coming home. It's her smile, but it's a picture that you imagine and then you get to see it in real life. It's medicine in a way.

Kristi: It's so lifelike. I've always loved that picture they used of Kaylee. The depiction of Jesus they used, you know there are many renditions of Jesus, (this one is natural).

Every time we've met you two have shown class and strength that needs to be recognized and highlighted. We appreciate that. I want to give you this opportunity to have the final word. Both of you just have the opportunity to say what's on your heart and what you feel you need to say.

Kristi:I would have to say you know the same thing. Just thank you so much to our community to our friends beyond.

Steve: We'll never pretend like we'll be the same. We'll always be missing her, but we'll be reunited with both of them. There'll be some stories and catching up to do.

Goncalves family persists a year after daughter Kaylee was murdered (2024)

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