United StatesThe chilling investigation into the murder of the four students in Idaho
Police have released details of their investigations into the brutal murders of three women and a man and what led them to arrest a very disturbing suspect.
On Sunday, November 13, four students are found stabbed to death in the house where they lived in Moscow, a town in the middle of the hills of Idaho. The murders took place at night and, for a long time, it was believed that the police did not have the beginning of a clue. She had notably claimed that the two surviving roommates had heard nothing and slept during the crimes.
But it wasn’t true. At least one of the roommates heard terrifying noises and even saw the murderer. This police lie undoubtedly served to protect the investigation and the witnesses, as long as the assassin was not identified and arrested. What happened last Friday, December 30, when Bryan Kohberger, 28, was arrested in Pennsylvania, more than 4000 kilometers from Moscow.
A prepared massacre
The police released a long document on Thursday January 5 detailing their investigation and explaining how they had traced the suspect, a criminology student. What he reveals is chilling, as the assassin seems to have prepared a massacre which could have been only an experience for him. Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, both 21, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, 20 each and in a relationship could have been the victims of a psychopath.
According to this report, published in full by the “Daily Mail”, the night of the murder, the five occupants of the house are there at 2 am. Ethan Chapin does not live there but spends the night with his partner Xana Kernodle. The latter received an order for food around 4 a.m. Shortly after, one of the two survivors, who is on the second floor of the house, said she woke up hearing Kaylee Goncalves, who shares her room on the third floor with Madison Mogen, playing with her dog. Then she heard either Goncalves or Kernodle, who lives with Goncalves also on the second floor, exclaim, “There is someone here!”
She hears crying
The survivor opens the door but sees nothing. She returns to her room. She opens it again when she later hears crying and a male voice saying, “It’s OK, I’ll help you.” At 4:17 a.m., a surveillance camera recorded the sounds of a moan followed by a loud thump, as well as a dog barking several times.
The survivor who hears crying again opens the door a third time and sees a man dressed in black pass, wearing a black mask over his nose and mouth, about 1.80 m tall, “not very muscular, but athletic with bushy eyebrows”. She locks herself in her room and it seems that the assassin has come out.
Suspicious car spotted
After being called to and discovering the bodies of the four students the following day, police reviewed all the neighborhood surveillance cameras and noticed a suspicious car, a white Hyundai Elantra, which drove past the house four times between 3:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. 04 a.m. She is then seen leaving the area at high speed at 4:20 a.m. The search goes as far as Washington State University in Pullman, 15 km away and whose cameras show a car matching the description leaving the scene at 2:44 a.m. and returning at 5:27 a.m.
On November 29, a policeman spotted a Hyundai corresponding to the one sought, it was registered in the name of Bryan Kohberger. The photo on the driver’s license shows a white man with bushy eyebrows and the document says he is 1.82m tall. It therefore corresponds to the man seen in the house. Investigations against him indicate that he gave his mobile number following a traffic stop in August. Tracing records of him, police discover that he had been located near the house of the murders at least 12 times before the homicides as early as August 21, the day before Kohberger’s classes began as a graduate student in Washington State. Most times it was late at night or early in the morning.
But on the night of the murders, his phone was turned off between 2:47 a.m. and 4:48 a.m., the police think to mask his presence at the scene of the murders. However, he will come back to it since the phone is again spotted the next morning in front of the house at 9:15 a.m. At this time, the murders have not yet been reported. Surviving roommates won’t call until around noon. A priori, despite having seen a man in the house, they did not worry more than that, but did so when they did not see any of the other four tenants get up.
DNA on a knife sheath
Bryan Kohberger is therefore clearly the number one suspect. At the crime scene, investigators found a trace of a shoe in front of the survivors’ door and a knife holster in the bedroom of two victims. On the closing button of this one, they found DNA. On December 27, police searched the dumpsters of the Kohberger family in Pennsylvania, where Bryan lives outside of his studies, more than 4000 km away. DNA is found which indicates that it belongs with a 99.9998% probability to the father of the person who touched the knife sheath. Bryan was arrested on December 30 in Pennsylvania, extradited to Idaho and will appear in court on January 12, charged with all four murders.
“Understanding emotions before a crime”
Bryan Kohberger is a Ph.D. student in the Washington State Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. He had applied for an internship with Pullman Police in the fall of 2022 because he wanted to “help rural law enforcement better collect and analyze technology data in public safety operations.” He also did a survey on the Reddit network where he asked participants to provide information to “understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime”.
There may be a connection between him and one of the victims, Kaylee Goncalves, but it has not yet been revealed. There is no indication that he was in contact with the other victims or any of their relatives before the crimes. His presence on the scene many times before that makes one think of scouting. His attorney, Jason LaBar, said the suspect ‘believes he’s going to be exonerated,’ writes npr.org.