‘Pappa Rodger’ is the name used by a prolific comment writer in a true-crime Facebook group devoted to the Idaho murders of four college students.
Police have accused graduate student Bryan Kohberger of committing the quadruple homicide.
The comments and questions posted by the now-deleted Pappa Rodger Facebook page have gone viral as people debate whether or not Pappa Rodger could have been Kohberger himself, with some people even creating Facebook groups into the unproven theory. Some people have called the comment poster Pappa Rodgers, Papa Rogers or Pappa Rogers, but screenshots show the writer used the name Pappa Rodger.
Kohberger is the Washington State University criminology student who is accused in the knife attack murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, and Madison Mogen. The four students at the University of Idaho were stabbed to death in their off-campus rental home on November 13, 2022, according to a website created by Moscow, Idaho, police.
True-crime sleuths have compared the Pappa Rodger writings in the University of Idaho Murders – Case Discussion Facebook group to the writing style in a Reddit survey that Kohberger posted as a student investigator into the thoughts and feelings of criminals. They also believe that Pappa Rodger’s Facebook profile picture, although it is actually an artist’s rendering of a soldier, strongly resembled Kohberger. It has not been proven that Pappa Rodger was Bryan Kohberger, and people online have argued both for and against the theory in Facebook and Reddit comment threads. It is not clear when Pappa Rodger last posted because other pages have sprouted up using the name since it went viral.
There are also TikTok videos devoted to the Pappa Rodger theory.
Kohberger’s attorney previously told CNN that Kohberger believes he will be “exonerated” of the Idaho murders.
Jennifer Coffindaffer, a retired FBI agent, has tweeted about the Pappa Rodger account.
According to TMZ, Coffindaffer has also raised questions about whether Kohberger might have been behind a Reddit handle, “u/insidelooking,” as well. That is also not a proven theory, although there are now subreddits devoted to analyzing whether Kohberger was u/insidelooking, and a YouTube video shared screenshots of insidelooking’s Reddit comments. Others say the theory that Kohberger was u/insidelooking has been debunked by Reddit moderators.
Here’s what you need to know:
Pappa Rodger Was Embroiled in a Lengthy Facebook Argument About His Ultimately Correct Theory That the Killer Left Behind a Knife Sheath at the Crime Scene
Pappa Rodger made a series of comments in the Facebook true crime group before Kohberger’s name was publicly known, in which he theorized that the killer had left a knife sheath behind at the crime scene.
At that point, police had not revealed that a knife sheath was left at the scene.
On November 30, 2022, Pappa Rodger wrote on Facebook, “Of the evidence released, the murder weapon has been consistent as a large fixed blade knife. This leads me to believe they found the sheath. This evidence was released prior to autopsies.”
Another comment writer strongly disagreed with Pappa Rodger about his theory, and they got into a lengthy Facebook disagreement about it, screenshots show.
When the police affidavit was released accusing Kohberger of the crime, it revealed that police did, in fact, find a knife sheath at the scene.
According to the police affidavit accusing Kohberger of the crimes, authorities found a tan leather sheath lying on the bed next to Mogen’s right side. The sheath had a “Ka-Bar” “USMC” and the United States Marine Corps eagle globe and anchor insignia stamped on its outside, the affidavit says.
Male DNA was left on the button snap of the knife sheath, according to the affidavit, and authorities wrote that they later compared this DNA to Kohberger’s father’s trash.
According to Facebook screenshots, Pappa Rodger also appeared to have knowledge of the home’s design, writing, “That isn’t a bedroom light” in the comment thread of a post on the Idaho murders.
He also made comments like, “The killer is not in the victims immediate circle” and “the killer is not a student. Thoughts?” screenshots show. Kohberger is a graduate student. No connection to the victims was outlined in the affidavit.
In a post on December 14, Pappa Rodger wrote, “Not a new post from me but still very relevant. How long was the killer in the house?” He then responded to a comment writer, “15 minutes,” screenshots show.
The affidavit describes the suspect vehicle driving in the area for a fourth time at about 4:04 a.m. and leaving the area of the King Road residence around 4:20 a.m.
Pappa Rodger’s Facebook Profile Picture Resembled Kohberger, Some Believe
The profile picture from the now-deleted Pappa Rodger Facebook page, captured in screenshots, resembles Kohberger, some true-crime sleuths believe. However, it is not a picture of Kohberger.
A comment writer wrote, in a Facebook discussion of the theory, “It’s not his pic, it is a digital recreation of an actual photograph by artist Yi Xu. U can find it on internet if u going back to June 2nd, 2014 so the theory of him using the AI app to create it is disproven since the image predates the app.”
The Yi Xu artwork is called “Soldier,” according to The Ultra Linx. The artwork shows up on Google image via that site, confirming that the Pappa Rodger profile picture was not Kohberger.
Some People Have Compared the Questions Left by Pappa Rodger to the Questions in Kohberger’s Reddit Survey
At the time of his arrest, Kohberger was studying criminology at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, the university’s website confirmed before it was updated after Kohberger’s name became publicly known.
As a student investigator for DeSales University, Kohberger posted the survey to an ex-cons subreddit, quizzing people about their thoughts and feelings on their criminal activity. The survey has now been deactivated.
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.”
The research study focused on a series of questions and other queries, including, “Why did you choose that victim or target over others?” Another reads, “After committing the crime, what were you thinking and feeling?”
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?”
“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.”
On the true-crime Facebook group, Pappa Rodger often phrased his interactions as questions, digging into the motives and actions of the killer, screenshots show.
Questions left by “Pappa Rodger” in the University of Idaho Murders – Case Discussion group include one on December 15 that reads, according to a screenshot, “The date of killing was chosen on purpose? Thoughts?”
In one side-by-side screenshot collage, people compared Kohberger’s survey asking, “Why did you choose that victim or target over others?” to Pappa Rodger asking, “Why did the killer choose that house over all the others in the area?”
Some People Wonder If ‘Rodger’ Is a Reference to Killer Elliot Rodger
One popular theory in true-crime groups is that the last name Rodger could be a play on mass killer Elliot Rodger. This is unproven as well.
According to BBC, Rodger is a “misogynist killer” who became an “incel hero.”
Rodger’s crimes have inspired other mass killings, such as the Toronto murders of Alek Minassian, who cited Elliot Rodger on Facebook before he was accused of killing 10 people, BBC reported.
Elliot Rodger stabbed and shot six people in in May 2014, according to BBC, which reported that Rodger, before taking his own life, “posted a ‘retribution’ video to YouTube and emailed a lengthy autobiographical document to almost two dozen people he knew.”
This document turned Rodger into a hero to the incel community, which stands for “involuntarily celibate” and consists of men “who blame women for their sexual failings, fastened upon the document,” BBC reported.
According to ABC News, Elliot Rodger’s manifesto “detailed his childhood, family problems, his inability to get a girlfriend, and his hatred of women, ethnic minorities and interracial couples. And it contained his plans for a massacre.”
The affidavit accuses Kohberger of stalking the Idaho students’ off-campus rental home 12 times, although authorities have not publicly outlined a motive for the quadruple homicide.
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