Bryan Kohberger is the suspect and criminology graduate student accused in the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students who were killed in Moscow, Idaho, on November 13, 2022, likely while they slept, authorities confirmed in a news conference. Kohberger, 28, was arrested on December 30, 2022, in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, where he grew up, court records show.
The victims, all University of Idaho students, were identified by police as: Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho. Chapin, who did not live in the home, and Kernodle were dating, according to their families. Mogen and Goncalves were lifelong friends who were like sisters. Two other roommates were in the home at the time of the killings but were not physically harmed, police said.
A detailed affidavit was released in the case on January 5, 2023. In it, authorities accuse Kohberger of stalking the students’ home multiple times before the murders. It says authorities believe a surviving roommate saw the killer, and it details how authorities say Kohberger was caught by a web of video and cell phone evidence as well as DNA from his father that was compared to DNA left on a knife sheath at the crime scene.
Kohberger is facing extradition to Idaho on murder charges, the WPVI news station reports. Kohberger, an Albrightsville, Pennsylvania native, is a graduate student at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, the university’s website says. He is studying criminology and criminal justice, the website shows. Pullman is located less than 10 miles from Moscow, Idaho.
According to CNN, Kohberger’s attorney Monroe County Chief Public Defender Jason LaBar said that Kohberger will waive extradition.
“Mr. Kohberger is eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible,” LaBar told CNN. The attorney told CNN that Kohberger traveled to Pennsylvania to be with his family for the holidays, saying, “His father actually went out (to Idaho) and they drove home together.” LaBar told CNN that Kohberger’s father, Michael Kohberger, opened the door when police showed up, and both father and son were cooperative.
The lawyer told CNN that he has spoken with Kohberger’s family and “They’re also very shocked,” calling the accusations “out of character for Bryan.”
His full name is Bryan Christopher Kohberger, according to Monroe County court records in Pennsylvania. According to WPVI, authorities, including the FBI, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Moscow Police Department, “tracked” Kohberger and located him in Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County, in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains region. A warrant accuses Kohberger of first-degree murder, the television station reported.
At a 1 p.m. local time press conference, Moscow, Idaho, Police Chief James Fry confirmed an arrest was made in the quadruple homicide. “We have an individual in custody who committed these horrible crimes, and I do believe our community is safe,” Fry said in the news conference.
Bill Thompson, the lead prosecutor in Latah County, Idaho, said at the news conference that Kohberger was charged with four counts of first-degree murder and felony burglary. He said the probable cause affidavit with additional details will be sealed until Kohberger has appeared in an Idaho courtroom.
Kohberger, who is being held without bond, has an apartment in Pullman, Thompson said at the news conference. Thompson added that Kohberger’s next court date will be Tuesday, January 3, 2023, and he is being represented by a public defender. His attorney could not be reached for comment by Heavy.
NewsNation reporter Brian Entin posted the suspect’s mugshot on Twitter:
According to the WSU website, Kohberger is pursuing his Ph.D in criminal justice and criminology. As a psychology graduate student at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, he was a student investigator for a survey that explored people’s actions, thoughts, and feelings when they committed crimes. One question in the study said: “Why did you choose that victim or target over others?” Another reads, “After committing the crime, what were you thinking and feeling?”
The deaths roiled the University of Idaho campus and the small college town of Moscow. The four friends were found with knife wounds inside a home and were likely attacked while sleeping, according to previous statements from police, who created a website to round up all press releases, debunk rumors and give out information as the community remained gripped in fear and true-crime sleuths leapt into action. The biggest clue previously released by police was the fact that they were searching for a white Hyundai Elantra vehicle seen in the area on video. Police announced that search on December 7, 2022.
Fry said authorities are still looking for the murder weapon but “have found an Elantra,” referring to the type of vehicle they were seeking after it was spotted on video near the crime scene. According to WPVI, Kohberger appeared before a Pennsylvania judge on December 30, and the judge approved extradition proceedings.
The killings occurred sometime in the early morning hours of November 13, police have said. The victims’ bodies were found several hours later, at about noon, when a 911 call for an “unconscious person” was made, according to police.
“Autopsies were conducted on November 17th. The Latah County Coroner confirmed the identity of the four murdered individuals and their cause and manner of death as homicide by stabbing. The coroner stated the four victims were likely asleep, some had defensive wounds, and each was stabbed multiple times. There was no sign of sexual assault,” the Idaho police website reads.
The students’ cause of death was homicide by stabbing in the off-campus rental home, according to the coroner. In the news conference, Moscow, Idaho, police did not release details about how they were led to Kohberger, whether he knew any of the students, and a motive.
Here’s what you need to know about Bryan Kohberger:
1. Bryan Kohberger Had a ‘Quiet, Blank Stare’ When He Was Taken Into Custody Near the Pocono Mountains & His DNA Matched Evidence at the Crime Scene, Reports Say
When Bryan Kohberger was arrested, he “asked if anyone else was arrested,” Entin wrote in a tweet, adding, “I’m told he had a ‘quiet, blank stare.’” Police declined to say when asked in the news conference whether Kohberger made the first comment.
According to CNN, citing sources, authorities discovered that Kohberger owned a white Hyundai Elantra like one seen near the homicide scene and then matched his DNA to DNA evidence recovered at the crime scene. Police said they could not confirm that report at the press conference because the case remains sealed in Idaho, and CNN did not report how police obtained Kohberger’s DNA.
CNN reported that Kohberger was being surveilled by a Philadelphia FBI field team for four days before his arrest in the morning hours of December 30, 2022.
Court records obtained by Heavy for the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County shows that the extradition was filed December 30, 2022, against Bryan Christopher Kohberger, the same day as the arrest. At the press conference, officials said if Kohbeger decides to fight extradition the process could take some time.
The suspect was being held at a county correctional facility with the destination location given as Monroe County prison. His city was listed as Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, and the document says “Bryan Kohberger” under “alias.” No bail information was listed.
NBC Philadelphia reported that Kohberger was “taken into custody near the Pocono Mountains” in connection with the November 13, 2022, Moscow homicides.
“On November 13, 2022, at 11:58 hours, Moscow Police Department Officers responded to a call on King Road for an unconscious individual. Upon arrival, officers discovered four individuals who were deceased,” Moscow, Idaho, police wrote in an early press release.
The Moscow Police Department and the City of Moscow are “deeply saddened for the families of these individuals, fellow students and friends, and our community during this time. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to each and every person affected by this incident,” police wrote in the press release.
BK Norton, a WSU classmate of Kohberger’s, told NBC News that Kohberger seemed “odd from the beginning” and “continued to attend classes and continued on like nothing had happened.”
She told NBC: “I still can’t wrap my head around it. He did attend class, up until the end of the semester and seemed more upbeat, honestly. When discussed in class, Bryan did not mention or contribute to the conversation of the murders. We were released from class early after the murders to get home when it was still light out, and Bryan was in those classes with us.”
In a December 30, 2022, statement posted on its website, Washington State University wrote, “This morning, the Washington State University Police Department assisted Idaho law enforcement officials in the execution of search warrants at Mr. Kohberger’s apartment and office, which are both located on the WSU Pullman campus. WSU Police are working closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement officials as they continue their investigation.”
The statement said that “Kohberger had completed his first semester as a PhD student in WSU’s criminal justice program earlier this month.”
“On behalf of the WSU Pullman community, I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of the law enforcement agencies that have been working tirelessly to solve this crime,” said Elizabeth Chilton, chancellor of the WSU Pullman campus and WSU provost, in the statement. “This horrific act has shaken everyone in the Palouse region.”
Students at Washington State who attended class with Kohberger told The Seattle Times that he continued showing up after the murders but seemed tired. Ben Roberts, another graduate student in the program, told The Times that Kohberger would show up late.
“He was starting to show up really tired,” Roberts said to the Times. “He’d always have a cup of coffee in his hand, and he kind of looked like he was riding the knife edge between worn out and completely exhausted.”
2. Kohberger, Whose Mother MaryAnn Wrote a Letter to the Newspaper About the Uvalde Shooting, Once Gave His Favorite Quote as a Line From Aristotle & Was Described as ‘Very OCD’ With ‘Weird’ Dietary Restrictions
MaryAnn Kohberger, who is Kohberger’s mother, according to public records obtained by Heavy, wrote a letter to the editor about the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting at an elementary school that was headlined, “I pray we consider the children, before the gun.”
In the June 2, 2022, letter to The Pocono Record, MaryAnn Kohberger wrote, “As I sat this morning, reeling from yet another school shooting, I found myself wrestling with which actions need to be taken to stop all the madness. What is the answer? Gun control measures? Mental health intervention?”
In the letter, she revealed that her daughter worked as mental health therapist in New Jersey, who shared a poem she wrote about the Uvalde massacre:
Bereft of their laughter
There is now not a sound
As we lower our children into the ground
Small hands and feet
Buried six feet deep into the earth of the world that failed them.
Kohberger wrote, “As I read the poem, I thought, whatever the solution, I pray we consider the children before the gun.” Public records say that Kohberger’s father is Michael Kohberger. MaryAnn Kohberger, of the Town of Effort, also wrote a letter to the editor that read, “I would like to respond to the general misconception, often represented on this page, that all Democrats support abortion rights. I do not personally support abortion, and by all means do not support the death penalty.”
They filed for bankruptcy again in 2020. You can read that filing here.
The bankruptcy documents give the couple’s names as Michael Francis Kohberger Jr. and Maryann Racquel Kohberger, and their home address as Effort, Pennsylvania.
The parents’ assets were listed at $154,719.11, and their liabilities were listed at $260,173.16 to creditors. Their current monthly income was listed at $4,391.87. Their primary asset was a $150,000 interest in their Effort home. They listed $65 cash on hand, and a savings account with $49.77 in it. They also declared a bedroom set, microwave oven, and other furniture and appliances worth $1,350.
The documents indicated that both parents had public school employees’ pensions.
The records list Michael’s job as “maintenance” for the Pleasant Valley School District in Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, a position he had held for 2.5 years. The mother’s position was listed as a para professional for the same school district for 7 years.
The New York Post reported that Kohberger’s former aunt, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the newspaper that Kohberger “worried his family with his bizarre eating habits.”
She described what the Post called Kohberger’s “dietary restrictions” as “very, very weird.”
“It was above and beyond being vegan,” the aunt told The Post, saying, “His aunt and uncle had to buy new pots and pans because he would not eat from anything that had ever had meat cooked in them. He seemed very OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder].”
A neighbor told WPVI that “police and FBI raided the suspect’s parents home around 1 a.m. She says they towed away a vehicle matching the white Elantra for which Idaho authorities had been searching,” according to WPVI reporter, Chad Pradelli.
“Neighbor tell Action News she’d seen Idaho murder suspect, Bryan Kohberger, going in and out of parents Poconos home in recent weeks,” Pradelli wrote on Twitter.
According to public records obtained by Heavy, Kohberger is registered to vote as a Libertarian in Pennsylvania.
When he graduated from DeSales University with a psychology degree, Kohberger listed a quote from Aristotle as his favorite memory or quote: “It is the mask of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it,” a commencement video posted to YouTube by the Center Valley, Pennsylvania university says.</a
There is a GoFundMe page set up to help the families of Goncalves and Mogen, who were close friends.
“The Vandal community lost four incredible people. Kaylee held a very special place in my heart as my sorority little. I will forever cherish our friendship and all of the amazing memories we made together. 👼🏼💛✨ ” a woman who shared the GoFundMe wrote.
Heavy has not found any obvious social media accounts for Kohberger.
The Moscow, Idaho website created by authorities provides a detailed summary of the case. It describes how, on the evening of November 12, Goncalves and Mogen were “at a local bar called Corner Club at 202 N. Main Street, in downtown Moscow, between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. on November 13th.”
At approximately 1:40 a.m., the two “were seen on video at a local food vendor called the ‘Grub Truck’ at 318 S. Main Street and used a private party for a ride home from downtown to arrive at their 1122 King Road residence around 1:56 a.m.,” the website statement says.
Investigators have determined that Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were seen at the Sigma Chi house on the University of Idaho Campus at 735 Nez Perce Drive. At approximately 1:45 a.m., Ethan and Xana are believed to have returned to the residence at 1122 King Road. It was previously reported that Ethan resided at the home; however, it has been determined that he was only visiting.
Detectives believe that on November 12th, the two surviving roommates had also been out in the Moscow community, separately, but returned home by 1 a.m. on November 13th. The two did not wake up until later that morning.
On November 13th, the surviving roommates summoned friends to the residence because they believed one of the second-floor victims had passed out and was not waking up. At 11:58 a.m., a 911 call requested aid for an unconscious person. The call was made from one of the surviving roommates’ cell phones inside the residence. Multiple people talked with the 911 dispatcher before Moscow Police arrived at the location. Officers entered the residence and found two victims on the second floor and two victims on the third floor.
3. Kohberger Studied Psychology at a Pennsylvania Community College & Researched the ‘Emotions & Psychological Traits’ of Criminals While in Grad School
Bryan Kohberger posted on a Reddit thread about a research project that was studying the minds and feelings of criminals. The post was made to a subreddit on ex-cons.
In the now-deleted Reddit post, Kohberger wrote, in part, “My name is Bryan, and I am inviting you to participate in a research project that seeks to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime. In particular, this study seems to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offense, with an emphasis on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience.”
Please note that the following survey asks you to detail your most recent criminal offense, whether you were caught or not. In the event that you were not charged, convicted, or incarcerated for the offense, you may still participate in this research.
It lists Kohberger as a “student investigator,” and reads,
We are interested in understanding how emotions and psychological traits influence the decision-making involved in committing a crime. After completing a series of background questions, you will be presented with open-ended questions relevant to the most recent crime you were involved in and asked to detail your thoughts, emotions, and actions from the beginning to end of the crime commission process. In order to best understand your unique psychological traits, surveys will be included after the open-ended section. Please be assured that your responses will be kept completely confidential.
Questions in the survey dig into whether a person committed their first crime when they were alone, whether they were employed, whether they were under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and more.
Other questions in the survey include, “How was your life right before the crime occurred?” and “Did you prepare for the crime before leaving your home? Please detail what you were thinking and feeling at this point” and “How did you travel to and enter the location that the crime occurred?” and “After arriving, what steps did you take prior to locating the victim or target (i.e., person or object)? Please detail your thoughts and feelings.”
Kohberger obtained a master’s degree from DeSales University, according to a commencement document from DeSales, which is located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.
DeSales told Daily Beast in a statement that Kohberger earned his bachelor’s degree in 2020, and his master’s degree in 2022. “As a Catholic, Selesian community, we are devastated by this senseless tragedy,” the university’s statement to Daily Beast read. Heavy has reached out to the university for comment.
The survey lists Jeffrey Clutter as co-principal investigator and Michelle Bolger as principal investigator. Heavy has contacted both by email and phone seeking comment. Clutter is an assistant professor at DeSales, whose university bio reads, “Dr. Jeffrey Clutter earned his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati. While there, he worked at the Institute of Crime Science, where he assisted police departments across the country in implementing group and gang violence reduction strategies.”
Bolger is an Associate Professor whose university biography reads that she “received her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Bolger worked as a case manager at a men’s community residential facility outside of Cincinnati. Her research and teaching interests broadly focus on quantitative analyses surrounding criminological perspectives and predicting behavioral outcomes.”
Fry said in a November 20, 2022, press conference that the murders have shaken the community. He called it a “complex and terrible” crime that would take time to resolve.
Moscow police Capt. Roger Lanier said in that earlier news conference that, on the evening of November 12, 2022, Goncalves and Mogen were at a local bar and then a food truck in downtown Moscow, arriving home at 1:45 a.m. Kernodle and Chapin arrived home from a frat party at the same time. At 1 a.m., the two surviving roommates returned from other places in the community and did not wake up for some time, according to the police statements.
Investigators initially determined two areas of interest in the city, canvassing them for additional surveillance video and tips, police said in the news conference.
The two surviving roommates, a male seen at the food truck wearing a white hoodie, a private party who provided rides home to Kaylee and Madison in the early morning hours, and others widely discussed in true-crime groups and on social media were ruled out, police wrote in press statements posted to their website.
“Additionally, the identity of the 911 caller and the 911 call have not been released,” Lanier said in the news conference.
He said in the news conference that investigators were aware that multiple phone calls from Kaylee’s and Madison’s phones were made to a male. However, police later said that man was not a suspect.
Kohberger has no criminal history in Washington and Idaho states, according to The Idaho Statesman, other than a minor traffic violation.
4. Kohberger Previously Worked in Security for a Pennsylvania School District
Jordan Serulneck, 34, owner of Seven Sirens Brewing Company in Pennsylvania, told NBC News that female staff complained about Kohberger’s behavior when he came into the brewery.
He told NBC Kohberger was usually alone, sitting at the bar and “observing and watching.” Staff had noted, “‘Hey, this guy makes creepy comments, keep an eye on him. He’ll have two or three beers and then just get a little too comfortable,’” Serulneck told NBC News, saying Kohberger would ask female staff or customers “who they were at the brewery with, where they lived.”
He grew upset if the women rejected him, and he once called a staff member a b****, Serulneck told NBC News.
Kohberger once worked in part-time security for the Pleasant Valley School District in Pennsylvania, according to a 2021 story in the Times News.
The Times News story reported that another person had replaced him, saying that the new hire was moving “from casual security to part-time security, replacing Bryan Kohberger.”
The students’ Instagram pages show that they were close friends.
People filled Mogen’s last Instagram post comment thread with tributes and lamentations. “You deserve justice, peace, and power. I hope your loved ones, friends, and community can receive the same,” wrote one.
“my heart is broken for the entire idaho community and college students nationwide. so many tragedies. rest in peace ❤️,” wrote another.
Goncalves’ last Instagram post showed her with friends a day before her murder and read, “one lucky girl to be surrounded by these ppl everyday 🤍”
In May, Goncalves wrote a post about Mogen. She wrote, “swipe to watch me and @maddiemogen grow up together!! happy 21st maddie may🤍 I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to be the main character in all my childhood stories. see you at the bars in 14 days, 14 minutes, and 14 seconds, i love you!!!”
Goncalves’ family released a statement to CBS News. “Kaylee was, is, and will always be our defender and protector,” the family wrote “… She did absolutely everything she set her mind to. She didn’t hold back on love, fights, or life.” The family asked people not to spread “harmful rumors” about the murders.
Chapin’s most recent post on Instagram showed him with Kernodle, and read, “Freshman year in a nutshell.”
Kernodle’s last Instagram post showed her with Chapin. “Happiest of birthdays to @ethanchapin4 ❤️ life is so much better with you in it, love you!” it read.
Chapin was a triplet, according to GSkagit.com. He studied in the Conway School District through eighth grade and went to Mount Vernon High School, the site reported.
The university said:
The students were: Ethan Chapin, a freshman from Mount Vernon, Washington, and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity majoring in recreation, sport and tourism management in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences; Xana Kernodle, a junior from Post Falls majoring in marketing in the College of Business and Economics and a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority; Madison Mogen, a senior from Coeur d’Alene majoring in marketing in the College of Business and Economics; and Kaylee Goncalves, a senior from Rathdrum majoring in general studies in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.
The Mad Greek restaurant posted a tribute to two of the victims, who worked there:
It is with a broken heart and deep sadness to share with you that we have lost two of our own here at Mad Greek.
Xana and Maddie have been servers here for several years and brought so much joy to our restaurant and all of those they encountered. Maddie was also the face behind our social media pages.
With this incredible loss, we have shut down to process and grieve.
Our deepest sympathies go out to all of the friends and families of Xana, Maddie, Ethan and Kaylee.
We as a team offer our support to anyone in need at this time. ❤️
-Jackie and all of the Mad Greek Family
You will be greatly missed. Thank you for being a part of our family/team and for helping me so much over the years. Until we meet again. Love, The Worlds Best Boss 💕
5. In High School, Kohberger Became Aggressive & ‘Thinner Than a Rail,’ a Former Classmate Says
Nick McLoughlin, who knew Kohberger in high school, told Daily Beast the suspect was “down to earth” but became “thinner than a rail” and “aggressive” his senior year after being overweight the year before. He was taking boxing classes, McLoughlin told Daily Beast, saying, “He always wanted to fight somebody.” He took criminal justice courses because he was thinking of becoming a police officer, McLoughlin told the publication.
An anonymous Reddit poster knew Kohberger and his mother in intermediate school. The subreddit moderator wrote that the poster’s account of knowing Kohberger was verified. The post read:
I knew Bryan at Pleasant Valley Intermediate School. He was overweight when we were short term friends. He was bullied a lot and socially awkward. He also had anger issues. I definitely got the impression that he is potentially on the Autism spectrum (I am an Aspie myself so I know it when I see it). Our friendship ended after he got in a physical fight with me. He lost weight going into high school (had to be close to 100 lbs of weight loss), hence why he looks older. He frequented a boxing gym during his weight loss. Friends from high school say he became more aggressive after losing weight. He had trouble making friends when we were were acquainted. Iirc, his mom is/was a school staff member. She was VERY sweet. I really hope she’s innocent in all this as she was very nice to me and many other PV students. Feel free to ask me any questions, but I don’t know much beyond this.
Casey Arntz has a TikTok page at @caseyfartz and has discussed Kohberger, who she says she knew in high school.
In a series of TikTok videos, Arntz accused Kohberger of being a heroin user when she knew him, but said he was nice to her.
She said in TikTok videos that he lost a lot of weight, and he once had a Facebook page, but he deleted it.
She said in TikTok videos that she doesn’t think any Instagram accounts in his name are real, with the possible exception of an Instagram page following some of the victims.
According to Arntz, Kohberger had “anger issues,” but “I never really saw them face-to-face.”
She said in TikTok videos that her brother said Kohberger had “bullied him” which came as a shock to her. Arntz said the arrest left her shaking and sick to her stomach She and noted that Kohberger “did kickboxing.”
Law enforcement sources told NBC News that a Hyundai Elantra “was taken away from the person’s home in Pennsylvania on Friday,” December 30, 2022.
Police made a search for Hyundai Elantra a key prong of their public statements during the investigation. “Progress continues to locate the white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra believed to be in the immediate area of the King Road residence during the early morning hours of November 13th,” Moscow police wrote in a press statement posted to their Facebook page just two days before the arrest.
“Investigators believe the occupant(s) may have critical information to share regarding this case and have identified over 22,000 vehicles. If you know of, or own, a vehicle matching this description, or know of anyone who may have been driving this specific vehicle on the days preceding or the day of the murders, please forward that information to the Tip Line,” the police press release says.
Kohberger is listed on Meritpages.com as being a graduate of “Northampton Community College, Class of 2018” and “From Albrightsville, PA.” That website says that he made the dean’s list at Northampton, where he was studying “Liberal Arts, Psychology,” according to Meritpages.com.