Roommates of the four University of Idaho students who were killed thought one of the individuals had passed out and wasn't dead, authorities said.
That prompted the 911 call, which led an officer to discover the four victims, all of whom had been stabbed, according to Idaho State Police Captain Roger Lanier.
Lanier added that two roommates were asleep during the attack and were not injured. Police do not believe the roommates were involved in the attack.
The killings have shaken Moscow, an Idaho Panhandle town of 25,000 residents that last saw a homicide about five years ago.
A suspect has not been identified and police said a murder weapon has not been recovered.
All four victims were members of fraternities and sororities: seniors Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; junior Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and freshman Ethan Chapin, 20, of Mount Vernon, Washington. The women were roommates.
The Moscow Police Department released a map last week showing a rough timeline of events leading up to the deaths and asked the public to provide tips or leads.
The map showed that Ethan and Xana attended a party at the Sigma Chi fraternity house between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday. The map said the two had returned to Xana’s rental house by 1:45 a.m. Sunday.
Meanwhile, Kaylee and Maddie went to the Corner Club, a popular bar in downtown Moscow, from 10 p.m. Saturday to 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Then they visited a food truck on Main Street and were back at the house by 1:45 a.m.
The map did not say how police knew all four victims were home by 1:45 a.m.
Lanier said all four victims were stabbed multiple times in their sleep. He added that some of them had defensive wounds and none of them were sexually assaulted.
There was no sign of forced entry, according to the chief.