A suspect, Brian Christopher Kohberger, was arrested in Pennsylvania Friday on an outstanding first-degree murder warrant stemming from the murders of four students at the University of Idaho last month, records and sources said. Kohberger was arrested in Monroe County, located in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.
Kohberger, 28, was arrested at approximately 3am Friday morning by Pennsylvania State Police at a home in Chestnuthill Township.
The investigation into the murders of four University of Idaho students and the murders of four University of Idaho students received a large volume of tips related to the pursuit of a white Elantra seen near the scene of the crimes about time of death last month, police said Friday. Police confirmed at a press conference Friday that they have found an Elantra, presumably tied to the arrest.
Authorities in Pennsylvania arrested the suspect in the murders of four murdered Idaho students found stabbed in their beds over a month ago, Fry said Friday.
Their suspect is a Washington State University graduate student. That school is located less than 10 miles from the University of Idaho, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said during a press conference Friday.
“For a lot of law enforcement, it was a fairly sleepless couple of days … leading up to everything we were doing,” Fry said Friday. “I have faith in those agencies across the nation, I have faith in our officers, I have faith in the FBI, and they did a great job. There was some times, even throughout the day, that we were always concerned.”
Clean up crews were due at the house on Friday, but that was halted by the court, according to Fry.
“Since November, investigators have been laser-focused on pursuing every lead in our pursuit of justice. This complex case took extensive work to develop a clear picture of what occurred,” he said.
Police did not reveal a motive had been determined and would not say they were looking at any other suspects.
Arrest documents filed in Monroe County Court on Dec. 30, 2022, from the Pennsylvania State Police, state that their suspect is being held in connection with a felony homicide investigation, according to active warrants for first-degree murder issued by the Moscow Police Department and the Latah County Prosecutor’s office.
Fears of a repeat attack have caused nearly half of University of Idaho’s more than 11,000 students to leave Moscow and move on to online classes.
Safety concerns have also led the Washington State University to hire more security, while Idaho State Police dispatched troopers to help patrol Moscow streets.
In a statement on his arrest, WSU said:
“On behalf of the WSU Pullman community, I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of the law enforcement agencies that have been working tirelessly to solve this crime,” said Elizabeth Chilton, chancellor of the WSU Pullman campus and WSU provost. “This horrific act has shaken everyone in the Palouse region.”
“We also want to extend our deepest sympathies to the families, friends, and Vandal colleagues who were impacted by these murders,” Chilton said. “We will long feel the loss of these young people in the Moscow-Pullman community and hope the announcement today will be a step toward healing.”
This morning, the Washington State University Police Department assisted Idaho law enforcement officials in the execution of search warrants at Mr. Kohberger’s apartment and office, which are both located on the WSU Pullman campus. WSU Police are working closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement officials as they continue their investigation.
Kohberger had completed his first semester as a PhD student in WSU’s criminal justice program earlier this month.”
Kohberger graduated from DeSales University in May 2022. DeSales released a statement:
‘On Friday, December 30, DeSales University learned of the arrest of Bryan Kohberger in connection with the murder of four University of Idaho students. Kohberger received a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completed his graduate studies in June 2022.
‘As a Catholic, Salesian community, we are devastated by this senseless tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families during this difficult time.’
Kohberger was arraigned before on-call Magisterial District Judge Michael Muth and remanded to Monroe County Correctional Facility pending extradition to Idaho.
On Facebook, Chapin’s mother, Stacy Wells Chapin, wrote:
“We are relieved this chapter is over because it provides a form of closure. However, it doesn’t alter the outcome or alleviate the pain. We miss Ethan, and our family is forever changed. Over the last seven weeks, we stood by the Moscow Police Department, FBI, and Idaho State Police, confident they would solve this crime. So, when we received the phone call last night, we congratulated them for their diligent work and service.
We remain grateful to the University of Idaho and the Sigma Chi fraternity for their ongoing support. We also appreciate the outpouring of kind words from so many others, which we’ll need as we enter the next chapter of this nightmare. Today, we marvel at the continued stories about Ethan and the lives he touched in his short 20 years. If we all lived and loved as Ethan did, the world would be a better place.”
Ben Roberts, a graduate student in the criminology and criminal justice department at WSU, called Kohberger confident and outgoing, but seemed like “he was always looking for a way to fit in.”
“It’s pretty out of left field,” he said of Kohberg’s arrest. “I had honestly just pegged him as being super awkward.”
Kohberger wanted to appear smart, he said.
“One thing he would always do, almost without fail, was find the most complicated way to explain something,” he said. “He had to make sure you knew that he knew it.”
The chief said at the news conference, “No arrest will ever bring back these young students. However, we do believe justice will be found through the criminal process.”
Moscow’s deputy city supervisor, Tyler Palmer, called the arrest a “tremendous sigh of relief for a community holding its breath for more than six weeks.”
Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Maddie Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington, were members of the university’s Greek system, roommates, and close friends. The so-called “Idaho Four” on social media lived in the three-story rental home at 1122 King Road, very close to the fraternity houses, with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were dating and he was a visitor at the house that night.
Rumors and speculation have been what law enforcement call “a huge distraction” to the investigation.
“Tracking down rumors and quelling rumors about specific individuals or specific events that may or may not have happened is a huge distraction for investigators and oftentimes is the result of social media propagation. And it is very, very frustrating to investigators and hard to stay on track,” Moscow Police Capt. Roger Lanier said last week.
Idaho police have reviewed almost 20,000 tips and interviewed 300 people on the stabbings, and are requesting any tips keep on coming in.