Suspect arrested in fatal stabbings of 4 University of Idaho students

Pennsylvania authorities have arrested a suspect in the murder of four University of Idaho students who were found stabbed to death in their beds more than a month ago, authorities said Friday.

The killings initially mystified law enforcement and rocked the small town of Moscow, Idaho, a farming community of about 25,000 people that hadn’t had a murder in five years. Fears of a repeat attack prompted nearly half of the University of Idaho’s more than 11,000 students to leave town and switch to online classes.

Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested early Friday morning by Pennsylvania State Police at a home in Chestnuthill Township, authorities said. He is being held for extradition to Idaho on a first-degree murder warrant, according to arrest documents filed in Monroe County Court. More details are expected at a press conference later 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, college spokeswoman Mia Rossi-Marino said.

A doctoral candidate by the same name is listed in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University, which is a short drive from the University of Idaho. Messages asking for more information were left with WSU officials. DeSales University in Pennsylvania confirmed that a student with that name graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completed graduate school in June 2022.

This photo provided by the Monroe County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania shows murder suspect Bryan Kohberger. He was arrested early Friday morning by Pennsylvania State Police and is being held for extradition to Idaho. (Monroe County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania/Associated Press)

The Idaho students – Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin – were stabbed to death in a rental house near campus in the early morning hours of November 13. Investigators haven’t been able to name a suspect or locate a murder weapon for weeks.

But the case opened up after law enforcement asked the public for help in locating a white Hyundai Elantra sedan seen near the house at the time of the killings. The Moscow Police Department made the request on December 7, and the next day had to direct the tips to a special FBI call center, as many were coming in. By mid-December, investigators were working on nearly 12,000 tips and had identified more. more than 22,000 vehicles corresponding to this make and model.

Gonçalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Chapin, 20, of Conway, Wash., were members of the university’s Greek system and close friends. Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle lived in the three-story rental house with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were dating and he was visiting the house that evening.

Autopsies showed that all four were probably asleep when they were attacked. Some had defensive wounds and each was stabbed multiple times. There were no signs of a sexual assault, police said.

A police car is seen parked in front of a house.
A police vehicle is shown parked outside the house where the students were fatally stabbed, in Moscow on November 13. (Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

Police said on Thursday the rental house would be cleared of « potential biohazards and other harmful substances » to collect evidence starting Friday morning. It was unclear how long the work would take, but a press release said the house would be returned to the property manager when complete.

Shanon Gray, an attorney representing Goncalves’ father, Steve Goncalves, said law enforcement officials called the family Thursday evening to inform them of the arrest, but offered no further information on how. which they believed Kohberger might be linked to the murders.

« Obviously they’re relieved that someone got arrested, » Gray said. « You know as much as we do right now. »

« Rather out of left field »

Ben Roberts, a graduate student in WSU’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, described Kohberger as confident and outgoing, but said it seemed « he was always looking for a way to fit in. »

« It’s pretty out of left field, » he said of the news on Friday. « Honestly, I just identified him as super clumsy. »

Roberts started the program in August — with Kohberger, he said — and took several classes with him. He described Kohberger as wanting to appear academic.

Mourners hold candles during a vigil.
Mourners gather during a candlelight vigil for stabbing victims at the University of Idaho’s Boise campus on November 30. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Associated Press)

« One thing he always did, almost without fail, was find the most complicated way to explain something, » he said. « He had to make sure you knew he knew. »

The case also attracted online sleuths who speculated about potential suspects and motives. At the start of the investigation, the police released relatively few details publicly. Security concerns also caused the university to hire an additional security company to escort students around campus, and the Idaho State Police sent in troops to help patrol city streets.

Kohberger was arrested in Monroe County, located in eastern Pennsylvania in the Pocono Mountains. The county seat, Stroudsburg, is about 100 miles north of Philadelphia.


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