Bryan Kohberger Idaho student murder suspect: Sources say authorities tracked suspect across country as he traveled to Pennsylvania



CNN

Sources told CNN that authorities carefully followed the man accused of killing four Idaho college students in his car across the country at Christmas and continued to watch him for several days before finally arresting him on Friday.

According to Latah County, 28-year-old Bryan Christopher Kohberger was arrested in his hometown of Pennsylvania and charged with four first-degree murders, as well as felony theft, in connection with the stabbing death of four University of Idaho students in November. Prosecutor Bill Thompson.

However, investigators did not publicly disclose the suspect’s motive or whether he knew the victims. The murder weapon was also not found, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said on Friday.

In the nearly seven weeks since the students were found stabbed to death in an off-campus home, investigators have conducted more than 300 interviews and scanned nearly 20,000 clues while searching for the suspect. News of the murder—and long or significant developments in the absence of a suspect—has shaken the University of Idaho community and the surrounding town of Moscow, which hasn’t seen a murder in seven years.

According to two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation, investigators determined through DNA evidence and confirming that he had a white Hyundai Elantra seen near the crime scene, Kohberger was a suspect.

A statement from the school confirmed that Kohberger was a PhD student in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University, which officials say lived just minutes from the murder scene.

According to a law enforcement source, he drove across the country in a white Hyundai Elantra and arrived at his family’s home in Pennsylvania around Christmas. The source said authorities watched him drive and also spied on his family’s home.

Two law enforcement sources said an FBI surveillance team watched him for four days before he was arrested, and law enforcement worked with prosecutors to develop enough probable reasons to issue an arrest warrant.

Genetic genealogy techniques were used to link Kohberger to unidentified DNA evidence, another source with knowledge of the case told CNN. The source said DNA was run through a public database to find potential family member matches, and subsequent investigative work by law enforcement is questionable.

According to the records, Kohberger appeared in court in Pennsylvania on Friday morning and is held without bail until his extradition hearing on January 3.

The suspect has the option to waive extradition and voluntarily return to Idaho. However, Fry said that otherwise Moscow police would have to initiate extradition proceedings through the governor’s office, which could take some time.

Prosecutors said that even if a suspect is charged, the job of law enforcement is not done yet.

Bryan Kohberger

“This is not the end of this investigation. It’s actually a new beginning,” Thompson said on Friday night.

Thompson urged people to continue tipping, asking anyone with information about the suspect to “show up, call the tip line, report everything you know about him to assist investigators.”

Since the murder of four students – Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20 some community members were disappointed that investigators had yet to offer a comprehensive account of how the night had unfolded. Authorities have disclosed limited details, including the victims’ activities that led to the attacks and who they excluded as suspects.

Fry told reporters Friday that state law limits what information officials can release before Kohberger first appears in Idaho court. Thompson said Kohberger’s probable cause statement, which details the factual basis of his charges, was sealed until the suspect physically arrived in Latah County, Idaho, and the Idaho arrest warrant was served on him.

Authorities said Kohberger resided in Pullman, Washington, a city about 9 miles from the murder scene. In a statement, the university confirmed that Washington State University’s apartment and office on the Pullman campus were searched by law enforcement on Friday morning.

According to the statement on the school’s website, he completed his master’s degree at DeSales University in June 2022, where he also continued his undergraduate education. He also earned an associate degree from Northampton Community College in 2018, the college confirms to CNN.

In a Reddit post that was removed after Kohberger’s arrest was announced, a student researcher named Bryan Kohberger, who was associated with a study at DeSales University, wanted to participate in a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits affect decision making when committing a crime.”

“This work specifically seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offense by highlighting your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience,” the post said.

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

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