Suspect in Idaho college student murders returned home for vacation weeks after crime – Boston News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) – The man arrested in connection with the November killings of four students from the University of Idaho that were found stabbed attended a nearby university in Washington state and traveled across the country to spend the holidays with his parents in December.

Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested Friday in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, on a first-degree murder warrant issued by the Moscow, Idaho Police Department and the Latah County Attorney’s Office, according to criminal complaints.

The four murdered students – Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kernodle’s friend, Ethan Chapin, 20 – were each stabbed multiple times in the early hours of November 13 at an off-campus home in the small university town of Moscow.

Kohberger was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania, where Kohberger went a few days before Christmas, Monroe County Chief Public Defender Jason LaBar told CNN. A white Elantra, which authorities were looking for in connection with the killings, was also at the parents’ home, the attorney added.

“He was home for the holidays,” LaBar said.

According to the public defender and a person who claims to have interacted with the father and son in early December, Kohberger’s father traveled to Pennsylvania with him from Washington state.

This person, who asked not to be identified, said she didn’t know the father and son but had a friendly chat with them at an auto repair shop in Pennsylvania on December 16 while the two were getting their Elantra serviced. (Another person also confirmed to CNN that the father and son did business at the location on Dec. 16.)

The father told the person he flew into Washington state and made the overland trip with Kohberger, adding his son will be traveling to the West Coast alone after the vacation. Police have not indicated that the suspect’s father is in any way implicated in the killings. CNN has attempted to contact the father for comment.

The person described the younger Kohberger as “a little awkward” but not suspicious. The suspect reportedly told the person he wanted to go into the behavioral criminal justice field and become a professor.

He is a graduate student in criminal justice

Kohberger is a graduate student in Washington State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, according to a now-removed college graduate directory seen by CNN earlier Friday.

Kohberger had finished his first semester as a graduate student in the university’s criminal justice program in early December said in a statement on Friday.

Earlier that day, university police were assisting authorities in enforcing search warrants at his office and home, both of which were on the school’s Pullman campus.

Pullman is about 15 minutes’ drive from Moscow, where the killings took place.

Kohberger intends to forego his extradition hearing in Idaho, scheduled for Jan. 3, to expedite his transportation to the state, LaBar said, adding his client is “eager to be cleared of the charges.” .

A Reddit post asking about criminal offenses

According to a. previously an undergraduate and graduate student at DeSales University expression on the school’s website. DeSales is a Catholic university in Pennsylvania, according to its official Facebook site.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completed his “postgraduate studies for the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Program” earlier this year, according to a university spokesman.

Kohberger’s attorney described his client as “very intelligent,” adding, “He understands where we are right now.”

In a post that was removed from Reddit after the arrest was made public, a student investigator associated with a DeSales University study named Bryan Kohberger sought to participate in a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime”.

The post states, “Specifically, this study seeks to understand the story behind your recent crime, with a focus on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience.”

CNN reached out to one of the study’s principal investigators, a professor at DeSales University, but declined to comment on the matter. The university did not respond to comment.

A spokesman for Northampton Community College, also in Pennsylvania, confirmed that Kohberger was a student there and graduated as an Associate of Arts and Psychology in 2018.

How authorities narrowed their search

In early December, authorities asked the public for information about a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra they believed was “in close proximity” to the scenes at the time of the killings.

After an overwhelming body of leads, investigators focused on Kohberger by tracing ownership of the Elantra to him, according to two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation.

His DNA also matched DNA found at the crime scene, according to the sources, who also explained that authorities believed Kohberger left the area and went to Pennsylvania after the crime.

An FBI surveillance team tracked the suspect for several days in the area where he was arrested, the sources added.

A law enforcement source said Kohberger is believed to have driven across the country to his parents’ home in the Elantra. Authorities also monitored his parents’ home, the source said.

Authorities monitored Kohberger while investigators from the Moscow Police Department, Idaho State Police and FBI worked with prosecutors to find a reasonably probable cause for an arrest warrant.

The suspect’s family were “very shocked,” attorney LaBar said, adding they were “impressed with everything that’s going on” and believed it was “uncharacteristic of Bryan.”

Authorities are asking for information on suspects

Authorities still want to hear from people who may be able to shed more light on Kohberger.

“This is not the end of this investigation, it is a new beginning,” Latah County Attorney Bill Thompson said Friday. “You all now know the name of the person charged with these offences. Please release this information, please ask the public to come forward with anyone who knows about this person.”

“Report everything you know about him to help investigators and eventually our office and the court system to understand everything there is to know, not just about the person but what happened and why.” , added Thompson.

Authorities received around 400 calls in the hour after Kohberger’s arrest was announced, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said, adding he hoped tips would help investigators learn more about the suspect.

“We want information on this person,” the chief told CNN. “We want this updated information so we can start creating this image now. Every tip counts.”

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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Sarah Y. Kim

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