The grieving mother of a 26-year-old man murdered in Oregon last year says she has been given “hope” that the case will finally be solved after police revealed they are exploring a potential link to the murders of four University of Idaho students in Moscow.
Myra Juetten told The Independent on Thursday that finding out who killed her son Travis Juetten in a brutal stabbing attack in his home in Silverton, Oregon – and also catching the killer of the slain students in Idaho – would be “the best Christmas present ever”.
“I want answers for all five of them,” she said of the victims.
“If law enforcement can work together and solve both cases that would be the best Christmas present ever.”
Back on 13 August 2021, Travis, 26, and his wife Jamilyn Juetten, 24, were woken at around 3am when a masked assailant broke into their home, entered their bedroom and stabbed them both multiple times with a knife.
Travis tried to fight off the attacker but was stabbed to death. Ms Juetten was stabbed 19 times but miraculously survived, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.
Despite Travis’ family putting up a $50,000 reward for information leading to the killer, 15 months on, the case remains unsolved.
This week, similarities were drawn between the knife attack on the young couple and the 13 November stabbing murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, 400 miles away in Moscow.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Moscow Police Chief James Fry was asked about a potential link between the two cases.
He confirmed that the Oregon killing is on their radar in Idaho and that investigators are probing a possible tie.
“We’re looking at every avenue and we have other agencies reaching out to us with other cases and stuff that we are going to follow up on,” he said, adding that authorities are “looking into any possible connection”.
“I actually had a tip come in on that case and I forwarded it,” he added.
Ms Juetten told The Independent that she has been following news about the unsolved murders in Idaho and was caught off guard when she heard police tying the case to the killing of her son.
She revealed that she hadn’t been contacted by investigators in Moscow or by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office there in Oregon about the possible development in her son’s case and said that watching the press conference was the first time she knew officials were exploring a link.
“I heard it on the news conference the other day that they were exploring it or that they were aware of it – that was the first I knew,” she said.
Hearing her son’s case mentioned “got my hopes up”, she said, after an agonising 15 months of no answers as to who killed her son.
“I did get my hopes up as it’s been a year and a half and we have nothing,” she said, explaining how she can’t understand why someone would have murdered her son who was “the sweetest, kindest loving person”.
“He was just starting his life,” she said.
“I don’t know why anyone would want to hurt him. He was a beautiful soul, he was the sweetest, kindest loving person you would ever meet.
“He was 100 per cent vegan because he didn’t believe in killing animals. He had the biggest heart, he would have given you the shirt off his back if you asked.”
For Travis’ mother, she is “not sure” if the two cases are linked but does believe there are “a lot of similarities”.
Both unsolved cases involved a suspect armed with a knife breaking into a home at around 3am and attacking victims while they slept in their beds.
Both murders took place on the 13th of the month.
Also in both cases, other people were home at the time of the killings and were left unharmed.
During Travis’ murder, a friend was sleeping in another room. The friend was staying over to pet-sit because the couple were supposed to go on a trip to Hawaii the next day. The friend was woken by the commotion and is believed to have scared off the attacker, before calling 911.
Similarly, two other roommates were in the home at the time of the murders in Idaho. They were unharmed and are believed to have slept through the attack.
Ms Juetten added to The Independent that all victims are believed to have been stabbed in the torso and revealed that a pet dog was also left unharmed in her son’s home when he was killed. Moscow police revealed this week that Goncalves’ dog was found unharmed in the students’ home following her murder.
“I think there’s a lot of similarities to the case but I couldn’t say for sure if they are or not [connected],” said Ms Juetten.
“They are nine hours apart from one to the other,” she added.
Having lost her son in tragically similar circumstances, Ms Juetten said that her “heart breaks” for the parents of the four victims in Idaho.
“My heart breaks for the parents of these four young adults,” she said.
“It’s very, very hard to lose a child so brutally with no answers. My heart breaks for them.”
For Ms Juetten, having to spend the last year knowing her son’s killer is still out there is “a nightmare”.
“It’s awful. It’s our worst nightmare. It’s very hard on the entire family as there is a killer out there,” she said.
“We always have hope that they’ll find Travis’ killer and so any time we can get people to look into [the case] and look at pieces of the puzzle…”
Now, she hopes that investigators may have found a piece of the puzzle.
“I hope that law enforcement now solve not only Travis’ case but also find the killer of those four beautiful people,” she said.
News of a possible connection between the unsolved 2021 case and the quadruple murders in Idaho comes as that case also continues to rumble on unsolved.
Eleven days into the investigation, no suspects have been named and no arrests made.
The four victims were stabbed to death in an off-campus home that the three women shared with two roommates in the early hours of the morning of 13 November.
Goncalves and Mogen had spent Saturday night at The Corner Club bar in downtown Moscow, before stopping by a food truck and then getting a ride home from an unnamed “private party”. Kernodle and Chapin were at a sorority party at Sigma Chi house together.
All four victims are believed to have returned to the student home at around 1.45am.
The time of death of the victims is believed to be around 3am or 4am, officials said last week.
Two victims were killed on the second floor and two on the third floor of the home. The two surviving roommates were sleeping on the first floor and were unharmed.
The coroner has revealed that all four victims were stabbed multiple times with a large knife while in their beds. There was no signs of sexual assault on any of the victims and the murder weapon – a fixed-blade knife – has not been recovered.