The stabbing deaths of four students at the University of Idaho in Moscow in November sent authorities scrambling for answers while a shocked community mourned.
Three roommates – Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves and Xana Kernodle, and Kernodle’s boyfriend, Ethan Chapin – were found dead in a home near campus and roughly 4,500 feet from the Moscow Police Department.
Six and a half weeks after their deaths, authorities arrested Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old criminal justice graduate student at Washington State University in nearby Pullman, Washington.
An 18-page police affidavit, weeks of news releases and USA TODAY research show Kohberger’s background and how the investigation came together, from searches of his family’s garbage at their Pennsylvania home to sophisticated DNA sampling.
Suspect in court: Idaho college stabbings suspect in jail without bail
Bryan Kohberger receives a bachelor’s degree from DeSales University, a private Catholic school in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.
Kohberger receives a master’s degree in criminal justice at DeSales.
Kohberger begins doctoral studies in criminal justice at Washington State University’s campus in Pullman, Washington.
Kohberger applies for an internship with the Pullman Police Department, writing in his essay that he was interested in assisting rural law enforcement agencies with how to better collect and analyze technological data.
Records show Kohberger’s cellphone used cell resources providing coverage to the 1122 King Road area of Moscow at least 12 times, all but once in the late-evening and early-morning hours.
Kohberger’s cellphone uses resources that provided coverage to the King Road home from 10:34 p.m. to 11:35 p.m.
Latah County Sheriff’s Cpl. Duke stops Kohberger at Farm Road and Pullman Highway.
9 p.m.-1:45 a.m.
Roommate Bethany Funke sees Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle at a party at Chapin’s fraternity house, Sigma Chi, on campus at 735 Nez Perce Drive from about 9 p.m. to 1:45 a.m., according to the police affidavit. Kernodle and Chapin return to the King Road residence about 1:45.
10 p.m.-1:30 a.m.
Goncalves and Mogen are at The Corner Club, a sports bar at 202 N. Main St. in Moscow.
Two surviving roommates return home by 1 a.m.
1:30 a.m.-1:40 a.m.
Goncalves and Mogen pick up food at the Grub Truck food truck, then get a ride home from “a private party.”
All four victims are back at the rental house, 1122 King Road, where the three girls lived.
In statements, roommates say all occupants were home and asleep or in their rooms by 4 a.m.
A white sedan matching the description of a white Hyundai Elantra police would later say they were searching for is seen on WSU surveillance cameras travelling north on SE Nevada Street at NE Stadium Way.
Kohberger’s phone stops reporting to the network.
A white sedan consistent with the suspect’s vehicle is seen on WSU surveillance cameras traveling southeast on Nevada Street in Pullman toward 270. An FBI forensic examiner later identifies that vehicle as a 2014-2016 Hyundai Elantra.
A white sedan travels west in the 700 block of Indian Hills Drive in Moscow.
The white sedan, without a front license plate required by Idaho and Washington state laws, travels westbound on Styner Avenue at Idaho State Highway 95 in Moscow.
Multiple videos obtained in the neighborhood show the suspect vehicle made three passes by 1122 King Road and then left via Walenta Drive.
Kernodle receives a Doordash delivery.
The suspect vehicle enters the area a fourth time at about 4:04 a.m., drives eastbound on King Road, turning around in front of 500 Queen Road #52, then drives back westbound. In front of the King Road residence, the driver tries to park or turn around in the road before continuing to the intersection of Queen and King roads, then completes a three-point turn and drives eastbound again.
Based on roommate Dylan Mortensen’s statements, records from the phones of Funke and Mortensen and surveillance video collected in the neighborhood, investigators believe the students are killed in this time period.
Mortensen wakes up hearing what sounded like Goncalves playing with her dog on the third floor. A short time later she hears whom she believes is Goncalves saying something to the effect of “there’s someone here.”
A forensic download of Kernodle’s phone shows she was probably awake and using TikTok at 4:12 a.m.
Mortensen looks out of her bedroom but doesn’t see anything.
Mortensen opens her door a second time when she hears what she thinks is crying coming from Kernodle’s room; she then hears a male voice say “something to the effect of ‘It’s OK, I’m going to help you.'”
At 4:17 a.m., a security camera at 1112 King Road, about 50 feet from the west wall of Kernodle’s bedroom, picks up distorted audio of what sounds like voices or a whimper followed by a loud thud.
A dog can be heard on the audio barking numerous times.
Mortensen opens her door for a third time after she hears the crying and sees a figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covers the person’s mouth and nose walking toward her, she later tells police. She describes the person as male, 5-foot-10 or taller, not very muscular but athletically built with bushy eyebrows.
The masked visitor walks past her as she stands in a “frozen shock phase,” then walks toward the back sliding glass door, Mortensen later tells police.
She locks herself in her bedroom after seeing the figure, whom she does not recognize.
A camera records the suspect vehicle leaving the King Road residence at a high rate of speed, then traveling southbound on Walenta Drive. The vehicle probably left the neighborhood at Palouse River Drive and Conestoga Drive.
Kohberger’s phone starts reporting to the network again, using cell resources near Highway 95 south of Moscow near Blaine, Idaho, according to the court affidavit.
Kohberger’s phone uses cell towers while traveling south on State Highway 95 to Genesee, Idaho, then west toward Uniontown and back to Pullman.
Five surveillance cameras in Pullman and on the WSU campus record a white sedan consistent with the suspect vehicle. A camera at 1300 Johnson Road in Pullman observes a white sedan traveling northbound. The sedan is seen turning north on Bishop Boulevard. and northwest on SR 270.
Cameras observe a white Elantra traveling northbound on Stadium Way at Nevada Street, Grimes Way, Wilson Road and Cougar Way.
Kohberger’s phone records show the phone left his apartment and traveled toward Moscow.
Kohberger’s phone uses cell resources that provide coverage to the King Road home.
Kohberger’s phone pings the cell network from his apartment.
Unknown time in the morning
The two surviving roommates summon friends to the home, believing one of their roommates on the second floor has passed out and isn’t waking up.
Authorities respond to a 911 call from the residence, on a roommate’s cellphone, reporting an unconscious person. They find the four victims, each stabbed multiple times, on the second and third floors of the home.
Kohberger’s phone, which cell data shows traveled from Pullman to Lewiston, Idaho, uses resources that would provide coverage to Kate’s Cup of Joe coffee stand in Clarkston, Washington, where a camera captures a white Elantra driving past.
Kohberger’s phone pings in the area of an Albertson’s grocery store in Clarkston, where a white Elantra is seen by surveillance camera. Kohberger is seen by cameras inside the store, walking through the store and purchasing items at the checkout, then leaving.
Cpl. Brett Payne, of the Moscow Police Department, arrives at the King Road residence, where an Idaho State Police forensic team is beginning to process the scene. Payne wrote the statement of facts used to find probable cause for the arrest warrant.
Crime scene technicians, using a presumptive blood test and a protein stain, find a shoeprint – with a diamond-shaped pattern similar to the pattern of a Vans-type shoe – just outside the door of Mortensen’s bedroom.
On the bed next to Mogen, police find a tan leather knife sheath with a single source of male DNA on its button snap.
Kohberger’s phone uses cell resources that provide coverage in Johnson, Idaho, between 5:32 and 5:36 p.m., then stops reporting to the network.
Autopsies are done, and the Latah County coroner says that the four victims probably were asleep when they were attacked but that some had defensive wounds. The report says there was no sign of sexual assault.
Moscow police say detectives do not believe the two surviving roommates or the male in the Grub Truck video were involved in the deaths.
Kohberger registers his 2015 white Hyundai Elantra with Washington. It had been registered in Pennsylvania, where front plates are not required.
Moscow police say they are unable to confirm reports that Goncalves had a stalker but make multiple pleas for more information.
Moscow police say they did not find any evidence connecting a 1999 double stabbing in Pullman or a 2021 double stabbing in Salem, Oregon, to the King Road deaths.
Moscow Police ask area law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for white Hyundai Elantras. An FBI forensic examiner had concluded the suspect vehicle seen in videos was a 2011-2013 white Hyundai Elantra but could have been any model year from 2011 to 2016.
WSU police officer Daniel Tiengo researches white Elantras registered at the university and finds a 2015 white Elantra with a Pennsylvania license plate registered to Bryan Kohberger, 1630 NE Valley Road, Apt. 201, Pullman, an apartment complex for WSU students.
WSU officer Curtis Whitman is looking for white Hyundai Elantras and finds a 2015 white Elantra at 1630 NE Valley Road. He runs the plates and it returns Kohberger’s Washington state driver’s license information and photo. The license, which shows Kohberger is a 185-pound white male with a height of 6 feet and “bushy eyebrows,” is consistent with the description of the man Mortensen described, the court affidavit says.
Police say conflicting information was released by the Latah County Prosecutor’s office and clarify they did not know whether the King Road home or any of its residents were specifically targeted.
The University of Idaho hosts a candlelight vigil to honor Chapin, Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle.
Moscow police ask the public to be on the lookout for a white Hyundai Elantra.
A plate reader in Loma, Colorado, captures Kohberger’s Elantra.
Police announce they were sorting through registrations for 22,000 Hyundai Elantras that fit the search criteria from the model years 2011-2013.
Kohberger, in the Elantra, is stopped by law enforcement in Hancock County, Indiana.
Kohberger’s Elantra is seen on surveillance video in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania.
Law enforcement recovers trash from the Kohberger family home and sends the evidence to the Idaho State Laboratory for testing.
The Idaho lab reports a DNA profile obtained from the Pennsylvania trash identifies a male who could not be excluded as the biological father of the person with a DNA profile recovered from the knife sheath.
The FBI and Pennsylvania State Police arrest Kohberger on a fugitive from justice warrant at a home in Chestnuthill Township in Monroe County, Pennsylvania.
Moscow police and Latah County prosecutors hold a news conference to announce Kohberger had been arrested. Prosecutors and police said they are still seeking information from the public. Later in the day they confirm they had seized a white 2015 Hyundai Elantra and say additional search warrants and location searches are occurring in multiple locations.
Kohberger waives his right to an extradition hearing in Pennsylvania.
Kohberger is flown to Idaho by Pennsylvania State Police. He lands at Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport, then is driven to the Latah County Jail in Moscow, Idaho.
Kohberger makes his first appearance in an Idaho courtroom, and authorities release a trove of documents, including a 19-page affidavit outlining their investigation.
Kohberger appears in court and waives his right to a speedy trial. He remains jailed without the possibility of bail and is set to face a judge in June for a preliminary hearing.
SOURCES Clerk of District Court, Latah, Satellite image ©2023 Maxar Technologies