What Idaho murders affidavit reveals about investigation leading up to Bryan Kohberger's arrestget the free app
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Authorities in Idaho released new details Thursday from the investigation leading up to the arrest of a suspect in the murders of four University of Idaho students. Bryan Kohberger was arrested in Pennsylvania and faces charges of first-degree murder for the stabbing deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin in Moscow, Idaho, in November. Kohberger is also charged with felony burglary.
Kohberger appeared in an Idaho courtroom Thursday for his first hearing since he was extradited to the state. The judge ordered him held without bail.
The attorney for his extradition hearing in Pennsylvania, Monroe County public defender Jason LaBar, said "This is out of character for Bryan, these allegations."
Ahead of the Idaho hearing, authorities released court documents providing details about the investigation and the evidence police say they've uncovered.
One victim may have been awake during murders, court records suggest
At least one of the victims may have been awake at the time of the murders, the affidavit released after the suspect's arrest suggests.
Investigators "believe the homicides occurred between 4:00 and 4:25 a.m.," the affidavit notes. During the investigation, the affidavit details, authorities learned that Kernodle received a DoorDash order at approximately 4 a.m., and data obtained from her phone indicated she was awake and using TikTok at 4:12 a.m. — within the window of time when the murders are believed to have happened.
The coroner had initially said the victims were likely asleep during the murder.
Suspect may have returned to the crime scene the morning after the murders, police suggest in affidavit
Phone records show that Kohberger's cellphone was again in the vicinity of the murder scene the morning following the murders, police said in the affidavit.
The phone left Kohberger's residence in Pullman, Washington, around 9 a.m., police said, and traveled to Moscow, Idaho. There, the phone "utilized cellular resources that would provide coverage" to the area of the slain students' house between 9:12 and 9:21 a.m. before appearing to travel back to Kohberger's residence, according to the affidavit.
Suspect's vehicle drove past the roommates' house several times shortly before the murders, police said
In the affidavit unsealed Thursday, police say a white sedan matching the suspect's vehicle was seen on surveillance video collected from the neighborhood in which the three roommates lived on the night of the murders.
The sedan was spotted multiple times, according to the affidavit, starting at 3:29 a.m. and ending at 4:20 a.m., when it exited the area "at a high rate of speed." A review of the video showed the car making three initial passes by the roommates' address.
Police had said during the investigation they were looking for a white Hyundai Elantra.
That model of car was recovered from Kohberger's family home in Pennsylvania, police said following his arrest. The attorney who represented him for his extradition hearing told reporters Kohberger and his father drove from Pullman, Washington, to his parents' home in Pennsylvania in the vehicle.
Phone records suggest the suspect was near the roommates' home 12 times in the months prior to the murders, police said
A search warrant obtained by police for the phone number belonging to Kohberger showed that in the months before the killings, the phone repeatedly used "cellular resources that provide coverage to the area" of the eventual murder scene, the affidavit said.
Each of those occasions except one were during the late evening or early morning, police said. Police did not say when these visits started, but did reveal one of them was during a one-hour window on the night of Aug. 21. Minutes later, the suspect was pulled over by a Latah County sheriff's deputy at an intersection, the affidavit said. That intersection is just off the University of Idaho campus, and minutes away from the roommates' house. Phone records show the phone at that location during the stop, according to the affidavit.
Police believe suspect tried to conceal location during murders
A cellphone linked to Kohberger didn't report its location to its service provider for around two hours on the night of the murders, according to the affidavit.
Kohberger provided the cellphone's number to a sheriff's deputy in Moscow last August when he was detained during a traffic stop, according to the affidavit. On Dec. 23, police learned Kohberger was listed as the number's subscriber.
Between around 2:47 a.m. and around 4:48 a.m. on Nov. 13, the phone didn't report its location to AT&T, according to the affidavit. Police believe the victims were killed between 4 a.m. and 4:25 a.m.
At around 2:47 a.m., the phone pinged cellular services while traveling through Pullman, Washington, where Kohberger was living, according to the affidavit. When the phone next reported to the network at around 4:48 a.m., it was south of Moscow, near Blaine, Idaho.
For roughly the next 35 minutes, the phone moved along a route that ended in Pullman, according to the affidavit.
In the affidavit, Moscow police Cpl. Brett Payne said the pattern was consistent with the suspect "attempting to conceal his location during the quadruple homicide."
Later on Nov. 13, between 9:12 a.m. and 9:21 a.m., the phone pinged cellular resources in the area of the victims' residence, according to the affidavit.
Suspect applied for police internship in Washington state
Kohberger applied for an internship last fall with the police department in Pullman, Washington, according to the affidavit. At the time of his arrest, Kohberger was pursuing a doctorate in criminology at Washington State University, located in Pullman.
In an essay he wrote for the police internship, Kohberger wrote he "had interest in assisting rural law enforcement agencies with how to better collect and analyze technological data in public safety operations," according to the affidavit.
Kohberger also posted a Reddit survey asking people to provide information to "understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision making when committing a crime," according to the affidavit.
Suspect's name came up during search for vehicle
According to the affidavit, Kohberger's name came up during a police search for white Hyundai Elantras at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, located about 10 miles from Moscow.
Moscow police had asked law enforcement agencies in the area to look out for that type of vehicle after an FBI forensic examiner determined a 2011-2016 Elantra was seen in video footage from the victims' neighborhood on the night of the murders, according to the affidavit.
On Nov. 29, a Washington State University police officer found that a 2015 Elantra was registered to Kohberger, and another officer saw the vehicle in a parking lot for an apartment complex in Pullman, according to the affidavit.
Roommate saw "a figure clad in black clothing and a mask"
One of the victims' roommates told investigators she woke up at about 4 a.m. during the night of the murders. A short time later, she said she "heard someone she thought was [Kaylee] Goncalves say something to the effect of 'there's someone here,'" the affidavit states.
The roommate, identified in the affidavit as D.M., opened her door after she heard crying, according to the affidavit, and said she saw "a figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person's mouth and nose walking towards her." She described the person as a male, at least 5 feet, 10 inches tall, "not very muscular, but athletically built" with bushy eyebrows, according to the affidavit.
The roommate said the person walked past her as she stood in a "frozen shock phase." She then locked herself in her room.
Police found that Kohberger's physical description was consistent with her description of the person she saw. According to the affidavit, Kohberger's driver's license listed him as being 6 feet tall and weighing 185 pounds with his picture showing him having bushy eyebrows.
Read the affidavit in the Idaho murders investigation
Cpl. Brett Payne of the Moscow Police Department provided the details on the investigation in an 18-page court filing made public Thursday. Payne was assisted by the FBI and Idaho State Police, according to the documents.
Investigators say suspect's DNA found on knife sheath
Police found a tan leather knife sheath in a bedroom of the house following the students' murders on Nov. 13. According to the court documents, the state lab found a "single source of male DNA" on the button snap of the sheath.
That DNA evidence was compared to a DNA profile taken from the trash of the Kohberger family residence in Pennsylvania late last month, police said in the affidavit.
"On December 27, 2022, Pennsylvania Agents recovered the trash from the Kohberger family residence located in Albrightsville, PA," the affidavit states. "That evidence was sent to the Idaho State Lab for testing. On December 28, 2022, the Idaho State Lab reported that a DNA profile obtained from the trash and the DNA profile obtained from the sheath, identified a male as not being excluded as the biological father of Suspect Profile. At least 99.9998% of the male population would be expected to be excluded from the possibility of being the suspect's biological father."