Murder of Idaho college students
Four University of Idaho students were lethally stabbed in November.
January 27, 2023
In November 2022, the United States was rocked by the brutal stabbing of four college students as they slept in their beds in Moscow, Idaho. Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Gonclaves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20; were all killed in the attack. The former three victims were some of the home’s permanent residents while Chapin was sleeping over with his girlfriend, Kernodle.
All four of the victims were students at the nearby University of Idaho. The college town grieved the loss of such young lives along with the victims’ families and the whole of the country.
The Moscow Police Department asked the town for any information that could lead to the arrest of a suspect, including information about a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra that drove through the victims’ neighborhood around the time of the murders. Some evidence was released to the public, however, investigators kept their cards close to their chests.
As law enforcement was tight-lipped about any leads in the investigation, rumors swirled across social media sites, such as Reddit and TikTok. So-called “Internet Sleuths” gathered evidence to accuse victims’ friends and acquaintances of the murder.
On December 30, 2022, 28-year-old Washington University Ph.D. student Bryan Kohberger was taken into custody at his parent’s home in Pennsylvania. He has been accused of the four murders. A white 2015 Hyundai Elantra was taken from the home. Kohberger’s personal residence was 10 miles away from Moscow in Pullman, Washington.
Kohberger was initially identified as a suspect in the search for a white Hyundai Elantra. His Elantra had its license plates changed from Pennsylvania to Washington plates soon after the murders occurred.
Kohberger and his father were pulled over twice in Indiana for tailgating while driving to Pennsylvania from Washington following the murders. The FBI has denied directing Indiana State Police to do so.
DNA gathered from the knife sheath left at the crime scene was connected to Kohberger. A resident of the attacked home who saw the suspect described them as a male stranger who was around 5 feet 10 inches and “not very muscular, but athletically built with bushy eyebrows.” Kohberger appears to look similar to this description.
Kohberger was extradited from Pennsylvania to Idaho on January 4th and made his first appearance in Latah Country Courthouse the next day. Kohberger, who is accused of burglary as well as four charges of first-degree murder, forfeited his right to a prompt probable cause hearing within 14 days and just briefly answered the judge’s questions. The defendant will remain in state custody without being released on bond, the judge ruled.
A preliminary probable cause hearing has been scheduled for June 26, 2023.