‘She’s a tough kid’: Avondale father says University of Idaho student killed fought her attacker

Xana Kernodle's father said his daughter was in constant communication with her family and nothing about that night seemed unusual.
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 5:12 PM MST
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AVONDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — We are learning more about a young woman from Avondale found dead with three roommates in a house off campus at the University of Idaho this past weekend. Arizona’s Family talked exclusively with her father. “She didn’t really worry about the drama and stuff that much. She was never into that. She just liked having fun. Never about materialistic things,” said Jeffrey Kernodle. He was too distraught to be on camera, remembering the life of his daughter Xana. “She was–-all the time–-always with her friends,” he said.

Xana is one of the victims of the brutal stabbing at the University of Idaho, leaving four college roommates dead on Sunday. “I heard from her I think before we went out,” Kernodle said. “I think midnight was the last time we heard from her and she was fine.”

The murders rocked the small town of Moscow, Idaho, which hasn’t had a murder since 2015, according to state records. “I have no idea. It doesn’t make sense,” said Kernodle. He says Xana was in constant communication with her family and nothing about that night seemed unusual. “The door locks with a number code. Every time you go, you have to go around the house because of the number code so they either knew that or went around and maybe found the slider door open,” he said.

Kernodle is now struggling to understand how this could have happened. Why Xana? “They were just hanging out at home. Xana was just hanging out at home with her boyfriend,” he explained.

Two other female roommates, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, were killed along with Xana’s boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, who Kernodle loved. “Her and Ethan were together about a year, give or take. And she, really, when I went up there she, I saw her just a week before that and she changed a lot. She had a life. She got to see what it was like to have a boyfriend you live with. And she really turned around. She was really responsible. Helping him out with his studies and stuff. I was really impressed,” he said.

Kernodle says there’s one thing the autopsy shows for certain. Xana, a strong-willed woman, fought her killer to the very end. “Bruises, torn by the knife. She’s a tough kid. Whatever she wanted to do, she could do it,” Kernodle said.