What We Know About Bryan Kohberger, Suspect in Idaho Murders

Bryan Kohberger was a PhD student in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University, which is a short drive across the state line from the University of Idaho.

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What to Know

A suspect in the killings of four University of Idaho students who were found stabbed to death in their beds more than a month ago was arrested near the Pocono Mountains in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. 

Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, is charged in the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin. 

The killings initially mystified law enforcement and shook the small town of Moscow, Idaho, a farming community of about 25,000 people that had not had a murder for five years. Fears of a repeat attack prompted nearly half of the University of Idaho's over 11,000 students to leave the city and switch to online classes.

Kohberger was arrested early Friday morning by the Pennsylvania State Police at a home in Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County, authorities said. 

Monroe County is located in eastern Pennsylvania in the Pocono Mountains. The county seat, Stroudsburg, is about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Philadelphia.

Kohberger is being held for extradition to Idaho on a warrant for first degree murder, according to arrest paperwork filed in Monroe County Court. An extradition hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Mugshot of Bryan Kohberger, arrested in connection to the killings of four Idaho college students.
Mugshot of Bryan Kohberger, arrested in connection to the killings of four Idaho college students.

Here’s what we know about Kohberger so far: 

Bryan Kohberger was a PhD student in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University, which is a short drive across the state line from the University of Idaho.

Shortly after Kohberger's arrest was announced, WSU took down a graduate student page listing his name.

Ben Roberts, a graduate student in the criminology and criminal justice department at WSU, described Kohberger as confident and outgoing, but said it seemed like “he was always looking for a way to fit in.”

“It’s pretty out of left field,” he said of the news Friday. “I had honestly just pegged him as being super awkward.”

Roberts started the program in August — along with Kohberger, he said — and had several courses with him. He described Kohberger as wanting to appear academic.

“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.”

Kohberger also graduated from Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania with an associate of arts degree in psychology in 2018, said college spokesperson Mia Rossi-Marino. DeSales University in Pennsylvania also said that he received a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completed graduate studies in June 2022.

"As a Catholic, Salesian community, we are devastated by this senseless tragedy," the statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families during this difficult time."

Seven months ago, a person with the name Bryan Kohberger took part in a research project that required him to reach out directly to people who had been arrested. At the time, the person identified himself as a "student investigator" at DeSales University and was using a school-issued email address.

"My name is Bryan, and I am inviting you to participate in a research project that seeks to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime," Kohberger wrote in a post that appeared seven months ago on a Reddit community for former prisoners. "In particular, this study seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offense, with an emphasis on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience."

Earlier, a Bryan Kohberger worked as a security guard in the nearby Pleasant Valley School District where he was credited in 2018 with helping save the life of a hall monitor who was having an asthma attack, The Pocono Record reported.

With several questions running through their minds, a gated community in Chestnuthill Township is trying to find answers about the local suspect in the murders of four University of Idaho students. NBC10's Johnny Archer shares more emerging details.

A man named Schyler Jacobson also told NBC News New York he knew Kohberger about ten years ago and used to run with him.

"When I saw his name pop up this morning I was in complete disbelief. My adrenaline was rushing. I couldn't fathom that," Jacobson said. "When we were running, always kind of positive conversations on the runs. Like kind of uplifting. 'Hey, I want to get in shape.' Just kind of motivating. Nothing that was concerning. Nothing that's sticking out."

The Idaho students — Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin — were stabbed to death at a rental home near campus sometime in the early morning hours of Nov. 13. Investigators were unable to name a suspect or locate a murder weapon for weeks.

idaho student victims
These are the Idaho murder victims.

But the case broke open after law enforcement asked the public for help finding a white Hyundai Elantra sedan seen near the home around the time of the killings. The Moscow Police Department made the request Dec. 7, and by the next day had to direct tips to a special FBI call center because so many were coming in. By mid-December, investigators were working through nearly 12,000 tips and had identified more than 22,000 vehicles matching that make and model.

“We are still looking for the weapon,” Fry said. “I will say that we have found an Elantra.”

Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington, were members of the university's Greek system and close friends. Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle lived in the three-story rental home with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were dating and he was visiting the house that night.

Autopsies showed all four were likely asleep when they were attacked. Some had defensive wounds and each was stabbed multiple times. There was no sign of sexual assault, police said.

Police said Thursday the rental home would be cleared of “potential biohazards and other harmful substances” to collect evidence starting Friday morning. It was unclear how long the work would take, but a news release said the house would be returned to the property manager upon completion.

Shanon Gray, an attorney representing Goncalves's father, Steve Goncalves, said law enforcement officials called the family last night to let them know about the arrest, but gave no additional information about how or why they believe he might be connected to the murders.

“Obviously they’re relieved that someone has been arrested,” Gray said. “You guys know about as much as we do right now.”

NBC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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