Suspect arrested in fatal stabbings of 4 University of Idaho students
Authorities in Pennsylvania have arrested a suspect in the murder of four University of Idaho students who were found stabbed to death in bed more than a month ago, authorities said Friday.
The murder initially baffled law enforcement and rocked the small town of Moscow, Idaho, a farming community of about 25,000 people that hadn’t seen a single murder in five years. Fears of a repeat attack have prompted nearly half of the University of Idaho’s more than 11,000 students to leave the city and move into online classes.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police early Friday morning at a home in Chestnuthill Township, authorities said. He is being held for extradition to Idaho on a warrant for first-degree murder, according to arrest papers filed in Monroe County Court. More details are expected at a press conference later on Friday, and an extradition hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
Kohberger graduated from Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania with an associate of arts degree in psychology in 2018, school spokeswoman Mia Rossi-Marino said.
A doctoral student with the same name is listed in the criminal justice and criminology department at Washington State University, a short drive across the state line from the University of Idaho. Messages seeking more information were left with officials at WSU. DeSales University in Pennsylvania confirms that a student by that name received a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completed graduate study in June 2022.
Idaho students – Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin – were stabbed to death at a rental home near campus in the early hours of November 13, investigators were unable to name a suspect. or locate the murder weapon for the week.
However, the case fell apart after law enforcement asked the public to help locate a white Hyundai Elantra that was seen near the home around the time of the murder. The Moscow police department made the request on December 7, and by the next day, they had to direct the tips to a special FBI call center because there were so many people coming in. By mid-December, investigators had reviewed nearly 12,000 tips and had identified more than 22,000 more vehicles that matched make and model.
Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Mogen, 21 years old, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Chapin, 20, of Conway, Wash., are members of the college’s Greek system and are close friends. Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle live in a three-story rental house with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were dating and he visited the house that night.
An autopsy revealed that all four were likely asleep at the time of the attack. Some had self-defense wounds and each was stabbed multiple times. Police said there were no signs of sexual assault.
Police said on Thursday that the rental property would be cleared of “potential biological hazards and other harmful substances” to collect evidence starting Friday morning. It’s unclear how long the work will take, but a press release says the home will be returned to the property manager upon completion.
Shanon Gray, the attorney representing Goncalves’ father, Steve Goncalves, said law enforcement officials called the family Thursday night to inform them of the arrest but provided no further information. about how or why they believe Kohberger might be involved in the murder.
“Obviously they’re relieved that someone has been arrested,” Gray said. “You guys know as much as we do now.”
‘Pretty out of left field’
Ben Roberts, a graduate student in the department of criminology and criminal justice at WSU, describes Kohberger as confident and outgoing, but it sounds like “he was always looking for ways to fit in.”
“It’s pretty out of place,” he said of the news Friday. “Honestly, I’ve just pegged him as super clumsy.”
Roberts started the program in August – along with Kohberger, he said – and has had a number of courses with him. He describes Kohberger as wanting to appear academic.
“One thing he always did, almost certainly, was find the most complicated way to explain something,” he said. “He has to make sure you know that he knows it.”
The case also attracts online detectives, who speculate on potential suspects and motives. In the early days of the investigation, police released relatively few details. Safety concerns also led the university to hire an additional security company to escort students on campus and the Idaho State Police to send soldiers to help patrol the city’s streets.
Kohberger was arrested in Monroe County, located in eastern Pennsylvania in the Pocono Mountains. The county seat, Stroudsburg, is about 16 kilometers north of Philadelphia.