On Nov. 13, 2022, four students at the University of Idaho were found stabbed to death in a house near the campus in Moscow, Idaho. Ethan Chapin (20), Madison Mogen (21), Xana Kernodle (20) and Kaylee Goncalves (21) fell victim to leading suspect Bryan Kohberger who is facing four counts of first-degree murder and a count of felony burglary. It took police more than six weeks to identify a suspect, and now the 28-year-old is held in custody without bail.
According to Moscow Police, Goncalves and Mogen went out to the Corner Club Bar in Moscow from approximately 9:00 pm on Nov. 12 to 1:45 am on Nov. 13. Chapin and Kernodle, who were dating, went to the Sigma Chi House on the University of Idaho campus between 10:00 pm on Nov. 12 to 1:30 am on Nov. 13. Two other roomates who survived the attack, Dylan Mortenson and Bethany Funke, were also out in Moscow that night. At approximately 1:30 am Goncalves and Mogen were seen on video at a local food vendor called the “Grub Truck.” Both of the roomates made statements that all of the occupants of the off-campus rental home on King Road were home by 2:00 am on Nov. 13 and asleep or in their rooms by 4:00 am. The statements made by the roomates were revealed in the chilling 18-page affidavit released on Jan. 5 that outlines key evidence that exposes Kohenberger as a suspect. However, at approximately 4:00 am, Kernodle received a DoorDash order to the King Road Residence and went back to her room.
According to the affidavit, Mortenson stated that she originally went to sleep in her bedroom located on the second floor and was awoken at around 4:00 am by strange noises, crying and a man’s voice saying something to the effect of “it’s ok, I’m going to help you.” The roommate opened her door two times, and on the third time saw a figure clad in black clothing and a mask who appeared to be a man with bushy eyebrows walking towards her. The male walked past her, and Mortenson stood “frozen” according to court documents. Investigators believe that the murders took place between 4:00 am and 4:25 am. According to ABC News, authorities were not alerted until 11:58 am by a 911 phone call from one of the roommate’s phone.
While investigating the crime scene, a knife sheath was found on the bed of Mogen and Goncalves’ bedroom on the third floor. A single source of DNA was found on the button snap of the knife sheath that connected the sample to another sample of DNA collected from trash of Kohberger’s parents’ home in Pennsylvania. The trash revealed that Mr. Kohberger was most likely the father of the person who left DNA on the knife sheath.
On the night of the murder, a white Hyundai Elantra was seen on surveillance footage from 3:29 am to 4:20 am. A Washington State University police officer discovered that the car belonged to Kohberger on Nov. 29. On Nov. 13, the car made three passes by the King Road Residence and then left the area. At around 4:04 am, the vehicle entered the area a fourth time and was seen quickly departing the area at approximately 4:20 am. During the time of the murders, records revealed that Kohberger disconnected his phone from the network and did not turn it back on until 4:48 am. However, at around 9:12 am, Kohberger’s phone was detected near the crime scene for nine minutes according to the New York Times. According to the affidavit, the suspect’s phone account was opened on June 23, 2022, and his phone “provided coverage to the area of 1122 King Road on at least twelve occasions prior to Nov. 13, 2022.”
Bryan Kohberger had taken a keen interest in criminology in his past. He received his bachelor’s degree from DeSales University in 2020 and Masters of Arts in Criminal Justice in June 2022, according to the New York Times. Kohberger then became a PhD student at the department of criminal justice and criminology at Washington State University where he worked as a teacher’s assistant. Even after the murders, Kohberger went on with his normal routine of attending class, grading papers and leading class discussions. After hearing the news of their son’s arrest, Kohberger’s family was in “shock” and wrote that “we have fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies in an attempt to seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence rather than judge unknown facts and make erroneous assumptions,” said to Jason Labar, the chief public defender of Monroe County, Pennsylvania, in a statement released on the Kohberger’s family behalf.
Kohberger appeared in court on Jan. 12 for a status conference and delayed the preliminary hearing until June 26 to ensure enough time to gather evidence.
The preliminary hearing will allow both sides to provide evidence and call witnesses to the stand. It will last about five days to decide if Kohberger, the suspect, is innocent or guilty of murdering four University of Idaho students.