Arrest made in Moscow student murders- who is Bryan Christopher Kohberger?

January 03, 2023


A suspect has been named in the Moscow, Idaho quadruple murder of four University students who were found stabbed to death in their shared, off-campus accommodation on November 13, 2022.

Bryan Christopher Kohberger, a 28 year old criminology student, has been recently detained on suspicion of the murder of Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen.

A SWAT team apprehended and arrested Kohberger on December 30, 2022, at 3am at his parents’ home in Chestnut Hill Township in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, approximately 2500 miles from the crime scene in Northern Idaho.

Authorities had the suspect under surveillance after a white Hyundai Elantra parked outside of the Moscow residence was spotted on the night of the murder and connected to the suspect. DNA believed to be that of the killer recovered from the crime scene was ultimately linked back to Kohberger, giving authorities enough reason to make the arrest.

The suspect was tracked for four days as he made a cross-country trip to Pennsylvania while authorities and prosecutors raced to develop probable cause enough to obtain a warrant for his arrest.

Following the suspects arrest, for which he was charged with four counts of first degree murder and felony burglary, a white Hyundai Elantra was towed from the property.

But who is Bryan Kohberger?

Bryan Christopher Kohberger was born on November 21, 1994, and grew up in Albrightsville, near Scranton, in Pennsylvania.

He graduated from Northampton Community College in 2018 with an associate degree is psychology. He went on to earn a bachelors degree in psychology from DeSales University, a private Catholic university in Centre Valley, Pennsylvania, in 2020. He continued his studies at DeSales, graduating with a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice in 2022. Kohberger was also an assistant instructor for three undergraduates in the Criminal Justice course. His former professor declined to comment on the suspects arrest. 

Kohberger was employed as a security guard at the Pleasant Valley School District while studying between the fall of 2018 to the late summer of 2021. The position was flexible, and the suspect worked casual hours. He had no criminal history, bar one previous minor infraction when he was pulled over by police in Moscow, Idaho, in August 2022 and cited for neglecting to wear his seat belt when driving.

He went on to study criminology at Washington State University and was enrolled in the course at the time of his arrest.

He was renting an apartment in Pullman, Washington at the time he committed the murders and did not interact with his neighbours while staying there.

Pullman is under ten miles and approximately a 15 minute drive from Moscow, Idaho, where the victims resided.

Following his arrest for the murders, those who knew him described him as extremely intelligent but socially awkward. Kohberger was bullied in school for being overweight and awkward, specifically with girls who reacted negatively to his behaviour. After years of ridicule, the suspect began working out, took up boxing, and changed his body type completely.

No longer wanting to be the victim, he took on the role of the bully.

Changing his physical appearance proved to be a lot easier than adapting his social skills, as even in university, his classmates described him as extremely awkward and were unnerved by his staring.

When asked about Kohberger, a classmate of the suspect said:

"One thing he would always do, almost without fail, was find the most complicated way to explain something. He had to make sure you knew that he knew it."

Social media posts, speculated to have been posted by Kohberger, have become a topic of conversation after news of the suspect's arrest. In particular, a Reddit post pertaining to a survey on the thoughts and feelings of criminals that a user claiming to be Bryan Christopher Kohberger posted in the excons subreddit.

The post urged users with a criminal history to participate in a research project with the aim of understanding the "emotions and psychological traits that influence decision-making when committing a crime." The poster explained that they were seeking to comprehend the criminal mind and provided a link to an anonymous survey as well as a Deslaes University email address.

The survey link, which is no longer active, invited participants to take part with the following message:

"Please note that the following survey asks you to detail your most recent criminal offense, whether you were caught or not. In the event that you were not charged, convicted, or incarcerated for the offense, you may still participate in this research."

Kohberger is, at the time of writing, detained in Pennsylvania. According to his attorney, he has waived extradition and has denied any connection to the quadruple murder. Investigators received over 19,000 tips and conducted over three hundred interviews during the investigation so far.

Chief public defender for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, Jason LaBar, told CNN this week, that Kohberger was "a little bit shocked," adding: “Mr. Kohberger is eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible.”

It has been reported that at the time of his arrest, the suspect asked police if anyone other than himself had been arrested. Some have speculated that Kohberger was trying to throw police off with this statement, but the community remains fearful.

When asked about the suspects statement, Moscow police chief James Fry responded: "What I can tell you is we have an individual in custody who committed these horrible crimes and I do believe our community is safe," he said. "But we still need to be vigilant, right?"

The probable cause affidavit remains sealed and will remain so until Kohberger has been served with an Idaho arrest warrant in Latah County.

The suspect is expected to be extradited to Idaho and the BBC reports that he has appeared before a judge and is being detained without bail for the time being. A motive for the crimes has not yet been revealed by police, who said in a statement that they endeavour to conceal the details of the case in order to secure a conviction when the case goes to trial.

The suspect’s family released a public statement addressing the arrest, saying:

First and foremost, we care deeply for the four families who have lost their precious children. There are no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel, and we pray each day for them,” the family’s statement read. “We will continue to let the legal process unfold and as a family we will love and support our son and brother. We have fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies in an attempt to seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence rather than judge unknown facts and make erroneous assumptions.”

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