DNA on a knife sheath left behind at the scene of a quadruple killing in Idaho, along with surveillance footage and cellphone records, led police to issue an arrest warrant for Bryan Kohberger, according to the probable cause affidavit released Thursday.
The affidavit, made public today, provides new details about what happened the night four University of Idaho students — Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, were fatally stabbed in their rental house near their school’s campus in Moscow, Idaho.
Kohberger, a 28-year-old PhD student who was studying criminology at Washington State University in Pullman, was arrested in northeast Pennsylvania on Dec. 30 and charged with four counts of murder as well as felony burglary for the killings.
He arrived in Idaho on Wednesday night to face murder charges, one day after appearing before a judge in Pennsylvania and agreeing to be extradited. On Thursday, he appeared before a Judge in Idaho and was denied bail.
The affidavit document states that on the evening of Nov. 12, Chapin and Kernodle were seen at the Sigma Chi house on the University of Idaho campus from around 9 p.m. to around 1:45 a.m. At this point, they returned to the victim’s house on King Road. The other two victims, Goncalves and Mogen, were at a local bar in Moscow and were seen in video footage provided by the bar between 10 p.m. on Nov. 12 and 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 13.
At around 1:30 a.m., Goncalves and Mogen were seen on video at a local food truck, and then a private party reported that he gave the women a ride at around 1:56 a.m. from downtown Moscow to the King Road residence.
All of the residents except for Kernodle, who reportedly received a DoorDash delivery at approx 4 a.m., were asleep by that time, according to statements given to the police by the surviving roommates.
One of the surviving roommates said that she was woken up around 4 a.m. by what she said “sounded like Goncalves playing with her dog in one of the upstairs bedrooms.”
A short time later, the roommate said she heard who she thought was Goncalves say something to the effect of “there’s someone here.”
She then told investigators she looked out of her bedroom but did not see anything and opened her door a second time when she heard what she thought was crying from Kernodle’s room. She said she then heard a male voice say something to the effect of “it’s ok, I’m going to help you.”
At around 4:17 a.m., the document states that a security camera located at a neighboring house picked up distorted audio of “what sounded like voices or a whimper followed by a loud thud,” authorities say. Goncalves’s dog could also be heard barking multiple times. The camera was less than 50 feet from Kernodle’s bedroom, according to the authorities.
Per the court document, the roommate opened her door for a third time after she heard the crying and saw a “figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person's mouth and nose walking towards her.”
She described the figure as a male, 5'10" or taller, not very muscular, but athletically built with bushy eyebrows. The male, whom she said she did not recognize, then allegedly walked past her as she stood in a "frozen shock phase." The roommate told authorities that the male then walked toward the back sliding glass door, and she locked herself in her room.
Police were not called until shortly before noon that day. Moscow police said they responded to a call about an unconscious person at around noon on Nov. 13. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the four students dead.
The document states that the bodies of Goncalves and Mogen were found in Mogen’s bed, as Steve Goncalves, the victim’s father, had previously said.
“They shared everything,” Goncalves said at the vigil for the victims. “They started looking at colleges, they came here together. They were eventually able to get into the same apartment together. In the end, they died together, in the same room, in the same bed."
The bodies of Kernodle and Chapin were found in Kernodle’s room.
In addition, investigators say that they found a knife sheath on the bed next to Mogen as well as a latent shoe print at the scene and that they believe the homicide occurred between 4 a.m. and 4:25 a.m. on the morning of Nov. 13.
Investigators say that they linked Kohberger to the crime by analyzing the DNA on the button snap of the knife sheath as well as surveillance footage that captured a white sedan — like the one Kohberger has and was seized from his house when arrested — driving around the neighborhood. The Moscow Police Department had previously asked for the community’s help in locating the car as they believed it was near the scene of the crime on the night that the murders occurred.
The DNA was linked to Kohberger through a comparison with his father’s DNA, the document says.
Per the court document, authorities claim that Kohberger had applied to be an intern with the Pullman Police Department in the fall of 2022 and wrote in his application that he had an “interest in assisting rural law enforcement agencies with how to better collect and analyze technological data in public safety operations.”
Authorities also suggest that Kohberger might have actually returned to the crime scene as his cellphone was tracked to the area where the killings occurred on the morning after the murders took place. His phone records also show that he was near the victim’s house a dozen times, virtually all in the “evening and early morning hours” before the night of the murders.
Kohberger’s extradition lawyer, Jason LaBar, told ABC News earlier this week that his client was “eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible.”
Since he appeared in court in Pennsylvania, information was released that Kohberger and his father were pulled over twice in mid-December in Indiana while driving back to Pennsylvania from Washington State University for the holidays. The road trip was preplanned, according to LaBar.
Both times, Kohberger was stopped for following another vehicle too closely. At the time of the stops, authorities said there was no information available on the suspect for the crime in Idaho. He was given a verbal warning.
In the bodycam footage, Kohberger was driving the white Hyundai Elantra. The car was later seized by police at the home where they arrested Kohberger in Pennsylvania.
It was also released that five days after the killings of the four students occurred, Kohberger changed the license plate for his car. The vehicle’s registration was reportedly changed from Pennsylvania to Washington on Nov. 18.
At the moment, it is still unclear if there is a connection between Kohberger and the victims, and the police have not released a motive.
After Kohberger’s court appearance in Idaho on Thursday, Shanon Gray, the lawyer for the Goncalves family, said that it was an “emotional time for the family, seeing the defendant for the first time,” adding that “this is the beginning of the criminal justice system and the family will be here for the long haul.”
On Tuesday, a judge in Latah County, Idaho, issued a gag order prohibiting all parties involved in the case, including law enforcement and attorneys, from speaking to anyone about the case outside of the courtroom. The Moscow Police Department then said that it would “no longer be communicating with the public or the media regarding this case.”
Kohberger, who is currently being held at the Latah County Jail in Moscow, is next scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 12 for a status hearing.
Thumbnail credit: Sarah A. Miller / Idaho Statesman via AP