A 28-year-old man has been arrested in the murder of four University of Idaho students.
Police announced Dec. 30 that Bryan Christopher Kohberger had been apprehended the day before in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, a small town about 40 miles north of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Moscow Police Chief James Fry told a news conference that Kohberger was a graduate student at Washington State University, just across the border in Pullman, Washington.
Kohberger is suspected in the deaths of Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21 – four University of Idaho students who were killed in a home near campus on November 13.
Kohberger had a Ph.D. student at WSU in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, university officials said in a Dec. 30 statement. They said the WSU Police Department assisted Idaho law enforcement officials in searching Kohberger’s apartment and office on the WSU campus Friday morning.
Kohberger received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Desales University, a private Catholic university in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completed his graduate studies in June 2022, the school confirmed in a statement. He earned his master’s degree in criminal justice, according to the school’s commencement announcement at the time.
Latah County District Attorney Bill Thompson said Kohberger faces four counts of first-degree murder as well as a burglary charge. He is currently being held in Pennsylvania, where he is due back in court on January 3.
At that hearing, Kohberger will choose to either fight or waive extradition to Idaho, Thompson said.
Once back in Idaho, more details of his arrest may become public, Thompson said, but it “may take a while for him to get here.”
The probable cause affidavit, which details the evidence used to charge and arrest Kohberger, will remain sealed until he is back in the state and served in a local court.
However, two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News later on Dec. 30 that DNA played a role in leading investigators to Kohberger.
Police and the local Latah County Coroner believe the students were killed inside the home as they slept, although some suffered defensive wounds. The three women were roommates in the house, while Chapin was Kernodle’s overnight boyfriend, authorities said.
Two other housemates who were not injured later discovered the bodies and called 911 the next morning, police said.
Thompson confirmed that Kohberger had an apartment residence in Pullman as a college student, while Fry later added that the suspect was from Pennsylvania.
Moscow police previously said they were looking for a white Hyundai Elantra as possible evidence. At the Dec. 30 press conference, Fry confirmed finding “an Elantra,” but didn’t say where.
As of December 30, Fry said, no murder weapon had been located. He previously said they believed the students had been stabbed with a fixed blade knife.
Fry also did not explicitly say that Kohberger acted alone. The police chief said he believed the community was “safe” as of December 30, but still encouraged residents to stay “vigilant”.
“What I can tell you is that we have an individual in custody who committed these horrific crimes and I believe our community is safe,” he said.
Moscow police also initially said they believed the stabbings were ‘targeted’ and ‘isolated’, but later told NBC News they had not concluded whether the house or individuals were targeted. .
At the December 30 press conference, authorities asked the public to continue submitting information about the murders and about Kohberger.
“This is not the end of this investigation. In fact, this is a new beginning,” Thompson said. “You all now know the name of the person who was charged with these offences. Please get that information there. Please ask the public, anyone who knows this individual, to come forward.
Andrew Blankstein and Scott Strain contributed.