Andrea Blanco and Bevan Hurley
Sat, 31 December 2022 at 5:46 pm GMT
The family of one of the four slain University Idaho have said they are seeing connections between their daughter and the suspect arrested in her murder.
Washington State University criminology student Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested by FBI agents and officers of the Pennsylvania State Police near the Pocono Mountains early Friday morning, according to documents obtained by The Independent.
He is being held for extradition on four first-degree murder complaints issued by the Moscow Police Department. Mr Kohberger’s arrest is the first significant breakthrough in the murders of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin on 13 November.
Now, Goncalves’ family has told ABC News that although they don’t know the suspect, they have started seeing connections between their daughter and Mr Kohberger. They told the network they are not ready to discuss those connections but are “happy, relieved and thankful.”
Mr Kohberger was arrested early Friday in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania – 2500 miles away from the scene of the crime, police said Friday at a news conference.
Moscow Police Department Chief James Fry and Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said on Friday that they could not disclose specifics of the investigation, such as whether the suspect knew the victims, until Mr Kohberger appears in an Idaho court and his arrest warrant is unsealed.
Mr Kohberger will be offered the chance to waive extradition, in which case Moscow authorities would have to initiate the process.
He is expected to be back in court in Pennsylvania on 3 January.
According to the Washington State University website, Mr Kohberger is a PhD graduate student in the criminal justice and criminology department in Pullman, Washington. Pullman is around nine miles (15kms) west of Moscow, Idaho, where the students lived.
He obtained an associate arts degree from Northampton Community College in Albrightstville before graduating from DeSales University in May with a master’s degree in criminal justice, according to school records.
The six-foot, 185-pound suspect worked as a part-time security officer at Pleasant Valley School District, which listed his mother as a paraprofessional, until at least August 2021, according to school agenda records.
Both of his sisters work as therapists, one in Pennsylvania and another in New Jersey.
Chief Fry on Friday said he was prevented by state law from revealing what tipped police off to Kohberger’s arrest until the suspect has been extradited to Idaho.
“We have an individual in custody who committed these horrible crimes, and I believe the community is safe,” Mr Fry said.
The murder weapon, however, has not yet been found. Mr Fry urged anyone with knowledge of Kohberger to contact authorities with any information about the suspect whatsoever. Prior to his arrest, Mr Fry said the department had received over 19,000 tips and conducted 300 interviews.
“These murders have shaken our community and no arrest could ever bring back these young students,” he said.
He added that authorities had located a Hyundai Elantra that had been spotted in the vicinity of the students’ flat on the night they died.
“Be assured the work is not done, this is just getting started,” he said.
Questions had swirled for nearly seven weeks after the 13 November discovery of the bodies of Ethan Chapin, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Madison Mogen, 21. The four University of Idaho students were found in an off-campus house the three young women shared just blocks from campus.
Police spent the following weeks parcelling out only sparing details as online sleuths seized upon the case and, at times, victim relatives criticised law enforcement for a lack of information. Moscow PD, Idaho State Police and the FBI were among the agencies working together to solve the murders.
Mr Fry said on Friday the he would “100 per cent stand behind how we handled this investigation … keeping information that was pertinent to this case very very tight. We want to have a situation where when this goes to trial, there is no doubt that we’ve done everything right.”