Authorities have released the affidavit that details police and crime scene evidence in the November 2022 quadruple murder of four University of Idaho students. The affidavit, written by Moscow Police Department Corporal Brett Payne, led to the December 30, 2022, arrest of 28-year-old Bryan Kohberger on murder charges.
You can read the affidavit in full here.
The affidavit was released by the Idaho state court system on January 5, 2023. It details the crime scene in the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen and Xana Kernodle, the four University of Idaho students who were knifed to death on November 13, 2022, in their off-campus rental property, according to previous police releases through a website authorities created to provide information.
Kohberger, a graduate student in criminology at the University of Washington, is accused in connection with the deaths. Authorities waited until Kohberger was back on Idaho soil before releasing the affidavit. Kohberger was arrested in Pennsylvania at his parents’ home and was extradited to face the charges in Idaho.
In the affidavit, 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. The affidavit details the accusations of the state of Idaho against Kohberger; authorities must prove them beyond a reasonable doubt in court to obtain a conviction.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Affidavit Describes in Graphic Detail Where the Bodies Were Found at the Crime Scene
According to the affidavit, on November 13, 2022, at approximately 4 p.m., a Moscow Police sergeant and officer Brett Payne responded to the King Road residence to assist with scene security and processing the crime scene.
An officer and Payne entered the home through the bottom floor door, the affidavit says. Payne went down the hallway to the west bedroom on the second floor, which was Kernodle’s room, the affidavit says. Just before this room, there was a bathroom door on the south wall of the hallway, the affidavit says.
As Payne approached the room, he could see a body, later identified as Kernodle’s, laying on the floor, according to the affidavit. She was deceased with wounds “which appeared to have been caused by a edged weapon,” according to the affidavit.
Also in the room was Ethan Chapin, who was also deceased, the affidavit says. He was killed by “sharp-force injuries,” according to the affidavit.
In the third floor of the residence, there were two bedrooms and one bathroom. The bedroom on the west side of the floor was the bedroom of Kaylee Goncalves, the affidavit says. There was a dog in the room when Moscow police initially responded; it belonged to Goncalves and her ex-boyfriend Jack Ducoeur, according to the affidavit, which adds that Ducouer told police that he and Goncalves shared the dog.
Mogen’s bedroom was also on the third floor, in the southwest corner.
When police entered, the officer could see “two females in the single bed in the room. Both Goncalves and Mogen were deceased with visible stab wounds,” the affidavit says.
Authorities Found Male DNA on the Button Snap of a Knife Sheath Left at the Crime Scene, the Affidavit Says
A tan leather sheath was lying on the bed next to Mogen’s right side, according to the affidavit. The sheath had a “Ka-Bar” “USMC” and the United States Marine Corps eagle globe and anchor insignia stamped on the outside of it, the affidavit says.
Male DNA was left on the button snap of the knife sheath, according to the affidavit.
Police interviewed the two surviving roommates who were in the home when the murders occurred, the affidavit says.
On the evening of November 12, 2022, Chapin and Kernodle were seen at the Sigma Chi house from 9 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. on November 13, 2022, when they returned to the King Road residence, where Chapin was a guest of Kernodle, the affidavit says.
Goncalves and Mogen were at a local bar, the Corner Club, in Moscow, Idaho, and they could be seen on video footage at the club between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., when they went to a local food vendor called the “Grub Truck,” according to the affidavit.
They then received a ride home at 1:56 a.m. from a private party, it says.
The roommates told police that the occupants of the King Road residence were at home by 2 a.m. and asleep or at least in their rooms by approximately 4 a.m. That is with the exception of Kernodle, who received a DoorDash delivery at 4 a.m., the affidavit says.
Kernodle May Have Been on TikTok When the Killer Entered the House, the Affidavit Says
One of the surviving roommates said she originally went to sleep in her bedroom on the southeast side of the second floor. She woke up at 4 a.m. by what sounded like Goncalves playing with her dog in one of the upstairs bedrooms, the affidavit says.
She heard a person she thought was Goncalves say something to the effect of “there’s someone here,” it says, adding that this could have been Kernodle, because she was likely awake and on TikTok at 4:12 a.m., according to the affidavit.
The surviving roommate, identified only by initials in the affidavit, said she looked out of her bedroom but did not see anything, according to the affidavit.
She opened the door a second time when she heard what she thought was crying coming from Kernodle’s room, it says, and then she heard a male voice say something to the effect of, “It’s ok, I’m going to help you.”
A Surviving Roommate Says She Encountered the Killer, Who Was a Figure ‘Clad in Black,’ the Affidavit Says
At 4:17 a.m., a security camera nearby picked up distorted audio of what “sounded like voices or a whimper followed by a loud thud, the affidavit says, and a dog can also be heard barking numerous times starting at 4:17 a.m.,” the affidavit says.
One of the surviving roommates, Mortensen, told police she opened her door for the third time after she heard the crying and “saw a figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose walking towards her. D.M. described the figure as 5’10” or taller, male, not very muscular, but athletically built with busy eyebrows,” the affidavit says.
He walked past her as she stood in “frozen shock phase” and walked back towards the back sliding glass door, it says.
She locked herself in her room. She did not say that she recognized him, according to the affidavit.
Authorities believe the homicides occurred between 4 a.m. and 4:25 a.m., the affidavit says.
At the crime scene, authorities found a latent shoe print, it adds. It showed a diamond-shaped pattern similar to a Vans type shoe sole just outside Mortensen’s bedroom, according to the affidavit.
The White Hyundai Elantra Was Traced Through Multiple Pieces of Video Footage, the Affidavit Says
A white sedan was found in a review of video footage. It did not have a front license plate, the affidavit says.
Multiple sightings of the vehicle were found in video footage. It made an initial three passes by the King Road residence, it says.
It departed the residence at 4:20 a.m. at a high rate of speed, the affidavit says, adding that authorities identified the vehicle as a Hyundai Elantra. They focused on people who possessed a 2011-2016 white Hyundai Elantra, according to the affidavit.
Police were given access to video footage on the Washington State University campus in Pullman, Washington, it says, adding that the WSU surveillance cameras captured a white sedan at 2:44 a.m. on November 13.
The vehicle was observed on five cameras in Pullman Washington and on WSU campus cameras around 5:25 a.m., the affidavit says.
That’s the campus where Kohberger was a graduate student, according to a now-deleted WSU website.
Kohberger Applied to be an Intern at the Pullman Police Department, the Affidavit Says
On November 29, 2022, Washington State University Officer Curtis Whitman was looking for white Hyundai Elantras and found one in a parking lot of an apartment complex in Pullman, the affidavit says.
It returned to Kohberger, according to the affidavit.
His physical description was consistent with the description given by Mortensen, the affidavit says.
Authorities realized that Kohberger had been detained as part of a traffic stop in Moscow, Idaho, on August 21, 2022, it says. He was also detained in a traffic stop by WSU on October 14, 2022, while driving a white 2015 Hyundai Elantra with a Pennsylvania license plate, according to the affidavit.
On December 13, 2022, Kohberger’s vehicle was captured by a license plate reader in Loma, Colorado, and again on December 15, 2022, by law enforcement in Hancock County, Indiana, the affidavit says. His vehicle ended up in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, by December 16, 2022, it says, adding that Kohberger was a ph.D student in Criminology at Washington State University and his past education included undergraduate degrees in psychology and cloud-based forensics.
He wrote an essay when he applied for an internship with the Pullman Police Department in the fall of 2022, the affidavit says, adding that he wrote that he had an interest in assisting rural law enforcement agencies with how to better collect and analyze technological data in public safety operations. He also posted a Reddit survey asking for participation to provide information on how to “understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision making when committing a crime,” it says.
The Affidavit Accuses Kohberger of Stalking the Students & Says DNA From His Father’s Trash Led Authorities to the Arrest
Officers obtained a search warrant for Kohberger’s cellular phone records on December 23, 2022, according to the affidavit.
At 2:47 a.m. on the date of the murders, the records showed the phone left Kohberger’s residence at 2:47 a.m., the affidavit says, adding that the phone then stopped reporting to the network before being picked up again at 4:48 a.m. on highway 95 south of Moscow Idaho.
Between 4:50 a.m. and 5:26 a.m., the phone traveled south to Genesee, Idaho, and then toward Uniontown, Idaho, before heading back into Pullman, says the affidavit, adding that the phone arrived back at Kohberger’s residence at about 5:30 a.m.
Police believe Kohberger was likely the driver of the white Elantra seen oon the video footage, the affidavit says.
Police obtained cell phone records for Kohberger’s phone dating back to June 2022, and they discovered the phone was in the area of the King Drive residence on at least 12 occasions, mostly in the late evening and early morning hours, it says.
On November 13, at 12:36 p.m., Kohberger was seen in a Kate’s Cup of Joe Coffee stand in Clarkston, Washington, it says, and, at 12:46 p.m., he was seen in the area of an Albertson’s grocery store.
Agents in Pennsylvania recovered trash from the Kohberger family residence in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania and sent it to the Idaho State Lab for testing, the affidavit says.
A DNA profile obtained from the trash and the DNA profile obtained from the sheath at the crime scene “identified a male as not being excluded as the biological father” of Kohberger, it says.