Crime and Courts

Suspect in Idaho Student Killings Arrested in Pa. Near Pocono Mountains

Sources confirm to NBC10 that Bryan Kohberger is a suspect in the killings of four University of Idaho students. He has been arrested in Monroe County, Pennsylvania.

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A man has been taken into custody near the Pocono Mountains in connection with the killing of four University of Idaho students.

Bryan Kohberger, 28, is a suspect in custody in Monroe County, Pa., sources confirm to NBC10's Deanna Durante and Brian Sheehan. Court records provided to NBC10 show that Kohberger was arrested on a warrant from Moscow, Idaho police and the Latah County, Idaho Prosecutors Office for murder in the first degree.

The arrest took place at a home in Chestnuthill Township, court docs say. Pennsylvania State Police say they assisted the FBI, the Moscow Police, and the Idaho State Police in the arrest.

Two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News that DNA played a role in leading investigators to Kohberger.

Kohberger appeared in front of a Monroe County judge around 8:30 a.m. Friday, sources tell NBC10. He is currently at the Monroe County Correctional Facility awaiting extradition.

"These murders have shaken our community and no arrest will ever bring back these young students," Moscow Police Chief James Fry told reporters in Idaho. "However, we do believe justice will be found through the criminal process."

Kohberger was due back in court in Pennsylvania on Tuesday for an extradition hearing, but his attorney announced Saturday that he will waive that hearing and return to Idaho.

Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said investigators are still in need of more information and pleaded with Idaho residents and the nation to come forward with anything they know about Kohberger.

“This is not the end of this investigation,” Thompson said. “In fact, this is a new beginning.” 

Kohberger graduated from Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania with an associate of arts degree in psychology in 2018, said college spokesperson Mia Rossi-Marino.

Kohberger was also a Ph.D. 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. 

A mugshot of Bryan Kohberger, 28, who is a person of interest in the quadruple homicide of college students in Moscow, Idaho. (Courtesy: Monroe County Correctional Facility)

The Nov. 13 killings of the four students -- Madison Mogan, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin -- garnered attention nationwide 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.

Police say the four victims were stabbed to death in an off-campus house rented by the three female students in the middle of the night, some with wounds that suggest they fought back against their attacker. The investigation to this point has largely come up empty. Two roommates on the first floor who police say slept through the attack have already been ruled out as suspects.

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.

idaho student victims
These are the Idaho murder victims.

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' 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.”

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.”

The case also enticed online sleuths who speculated about potential suspects and motives. In the early days of the investigation, police released relatively few details publicly. Safety concerns also had the university hiring an additional security firm to escort students across campus and the Idaho State Police sending troopers to help patrol the city’s streets.

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

Reporting from the Associated Press contributed to this story.

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