By Wyatt Carvalho
On November 16, 2022, four University of Idaho students were found ruthlessly stabbed in their home in Moscow, Idaho. The town hasn’t seen a murder in several years, resulting in shock from the entire town. The town was in fear for months while the suspect was a mystery until recently. The four victims were Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; and Ethan Chapin, 20. three of the victims lived in the off-campus house, with one staying there while they were killed in the early morning of November 13th. Bryan Kohberger was taken as the primary suspect, after 19,000 tips from the community and multiple weeks spent investigating.
The Magistrate Judge for Latah County, Megan Marshall, ordered no law enforcement, attorneys, or any others to mention details on the case.
Court documents have shown that the two of the victims arrived late into the night, around 2:00 a.m. The other two roommates were home at the time of the murder, but were not killed. Footage shows a white Hyundai Elantra driving around the townhouse before 3:30 a.m. A Doordash delivery arrived around 4:00 a.m. for Kernodle, as one of the roommates stated that at 4:04 a.m. it sounded like her roommate was playing with her dog upstairs. After 4:00 a.m. crying could be heard from Kernodles room, with the sound of a male voice saying that “It’s ok, I’m going to help you.” A security camera captured audio as well, of a whimper, a loud thud, and their dog barking.
One of the surviving roommates allegedly opened her door, and saw a man with bushy eyebrows, black clothes, and a mask covering their nose and mouth walk straight past her, as she stood there petrified. At 4:20 a.m. the white Elantra was speeding away from the Moscow city area. Five days after the murders, the main suspect Kohberger changed his license plate. Multiple times since June his phone has been located around the townhouse where the victims stayed. Four days after the murders he was spotted putting trash bags into his neighbor’s garbage bins as well. Prior to this, Kohberg was seen wearing surgical gloves, and cleaning the inside and outside of his car multiple times. While originally the police stated there was no risk to the community, they retracted their statement three days later, saying that “We cannot say that there is no threat to the community.” It is unknown if the attack was targeted.
The University of Idaho held a vigil for the victims on Nov. 30. Memorials have been built at the entrance, as well as the local restaurant Mad Creek. Two scholarship foundations were created as well due to the deaths, the Ethan Chaplin Memorial Scholarship and Xana Kernodle scholarship endowment.
Kohberger, the primary suspect, escaped to his Pennsylvania family home. A SWAT team broke into his home on Dec. 30, arresting him with four counts of first degree murder with one account of burglary.
“These murders have shaken our community and I know that no arrest will restore the families or bring these young students back. However, we believe in the criminal process and continue to extend our most sincere condolences to the families,” stated the Moscow Police Chief, James Fry.
Leading up to the arrest, surveillance was placed on the suspect, with orders to find an object with Kohbergers DNA. They found a knife sheath on the bed next to Mogen and Gonclaves, which held Kohbergers DNA. He also had a white Elantra to his name in Washington State University. Kohberg was a student at Washington State, where he is a PhD student in criminology. Apparently, he was on a country road trip with his father, and the police collected a sample of DNA of the father to get to the person on the knife sheath. Kohberger denies any involvement in the murders.