Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison “Maddie” Mogen, 21, Ethan Chapin, 20, and Xana Kernodle, 20, were all students at the University of Idaho, in Moscow. The three women shared an off-campus rental home at 1122 King Road, also in Moscow, along with two other roommates. Ethan Chapin, Kernodle’s boyfriend, often stayed at the home as well.
Moscow, Idaho, home to roughly 25,000 residents as well as the University of Idaho, has consistently been named one of the safest cities in Idaho for years.
Prior to the November 13th killings of these four college students, a murder had not been investigated in Moscow since 2015. Some residents of this small city do not even lock their doors, believing it to be unnecessary. They never imagined that anything like this heinous crime could have occurred right in their own back yard.
Their Last Night
On the evening of November 12, 2022, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin attended a party at the Sigma Chi fraternity house and returned home at 1:45 AM.
Kaylee Goncalves and Maddie Mogen, on the other hand, went downtown to a sports bar called The Corner Club at 10 PM and stayed there until 1:30 AM. After they left, they went to a food truck and got something to eat. When they were ready to go home, they got a ride from a man they’d met at the food truck and arrived at 1:56 AM.
Once home, Goncalves made seven unanswered calls to her ex-boyfriend, Jack DuCoeur, from 2:26 to 2:52 AM.
After this, no one would hear from Kaylee Goncalves, Maddie Mogen, Ethan Chapin or Xana Kernodle again.
Goncalves and Mogen were staying on the third floor, while Kernodle and Chapin had a room on the second floor. The two surviving roommates, who slept on the first floor, were back home by 1 AM and were left undisturbed.
A 911 call was placed by one of the two surviving roommates, whose name has not been released to the public, at 11:58 AM on the morning of November 13th. The caller stated that there was an “unconscious” person in the home who needed help.
When police arrived, they found no signs of forced entry and nothing appeared to have been stolen. A bloody scene was discovered on both the second and third floors, where the victims’ bodies were located. One crime scene photo of the exterior of the house even appears to show blood oozing from the walls.
The victims were all stabbed multiple times and, according to Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt: “At least one victim had defensive wounds, which suggested she awoke during the attack.”
None of the four University of Idaho students had been gagged or restrained in any way, and it has been estimated that the murders likely occurred between 3 and 4 in the morning. The murder weapon, which was not recovered at the scene, was probably a large fixed-blade knife.
The roommates on the first floor, who were entirely left alone by the killer, neither saw nor heard anything during the night that might help authorities to figure out who could have done this.
The Moscow Police Department is keeping many details of this case from the public, hoping that this approach will help them find the killer.
As Moscow Police Department Captain Roger Lanier explained:
“We’re not releasing specific details because we do not want to compromise this investigation. It’s what we must do. We owe that to the families, and we owe that to the victims. We want more than just an arrest, we want a conviction.”
However, they have publicly stated that the two surviving roommates, Goncalves’ ex-boyfriend, Jack DuCouer, and the unidentified man who drove Goncalves and Mogen home that night, have all been ruled out as suspects.
A white 2011–2013 Hyundai Elantra was allegedly spotted “in the immediate area” around the time of the murders. The authorities have stated that they wish to speak with the occupant(s), believing that they “may have seen something.”
Status of the Investigation
Though law enforcement initially assured residents that there was no risk to the community and that this was likely a targeted attack, they soon backtracked. Now, according to Moscow Police Chief James Fry: “We cannot say there is no threat to the community.”
No suspects have been announced thus far and the investigation is ongoing.
Update: Suspect Arrested
On the morning of Friday, December 30, 2022, 28-year-old Bryan Christopher Kohberger was arrested at his parents' house in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, in connection with the murder investigation.
Police also confirmed that a white Hyundai Elantra, believed to be the same vehicle that was spotted near the students' home on the night of the murders, was removed from the property.
The suspect is a graduate student at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. His apartment is located roughly 11 miles away from the rental home where the murders took place.
Kohberger is currently being held in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, on four charges of first degree murder. An extradition hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, January 3, 2023.
More Details About Bryan Kohberger
Jason LaBar, the chief public defender for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, says that Kohberger plans to waive his extradition hearing, which is merely a formality to prove that he is, in fact, Bryan Kohberger, a point which the accused does not deny.
This move will expedite his return to Idaho.
LaBar went on to say that Kohberger is "a little bit shocked" right now, but also "eager to be exonerated."
No motive has been released to the public thus far and it hasn't been established yet if Kohberger actually knew the victims or not.
However, a new report states that Kohberger's cell phone data suggests that he had been stalking the four students for weeks. He was also spotted wearing gloves in the supermarket following the murders.
More details about the suspect: former classmates have described him as "really intelligent" and "awkward." He was also reportedly bullied during his high school years for being socially awkward and overweight.
Kohberger also allegedly has a reputation for making "creepy" comments to the female staff and customers at a local brewery. This business has a system of customer profiles, which allows the employees to add comments if they wish. Kohberger's profile reads:
"Hey, this guy makes creepy comments, keep an eye on him. He'll have two or three beers and then just get a little too comfortable."
Arrest Affidavit Revelations
Bryan Kohberger's arrest affidavit was released to the public on Thursday, January 5, 2023, and provides many new details about the case.
It's believed that the murders of the four University of Idaho students took place between 4 and 4:25 AM.
Kernodle received a DoorDash order at about 4 AM on the night of the killings. One of the surviving roommates heard what sounded to her like Goncalves playing with her dog upstairs at around that same time. "A short time" later, the roommate heard who she believed was Goncalves say "There's someone here."
The roommate, identified only as "D.M." in the affidavit, opened her bedroom door at this point, but saw nothing. An unspecified amount of time later, D.M. heard what she believed to be crying coming from Kernodle's room, as well a male voice saying: "It's OK, I'm going to help you."
D.M. opened her door a second time and this time she saw a black-clad figure wearing a mask walk past her. She described this unidentified male as being around 5'10'' and "not very muscular, but athletically built, with bushy eyebrows." D.M. watched in a state of "frozen shock" as the intruder walked towards the sliding glass door. She then locked herself in her room.
At 4:17 AM, a security cam less than 50 feet from Kernodle's room picked up the sounds of a barking dog as well as "distorted audio of what sounded like voices or a whimper followed by a thud."
Kohberger's phone records show that he was near the victims' rental home at least a dozen times leading up to the murders, going back to August.
DNA was discovered on a leather sheath that was left in Mogen's bed. On December 27, DNA obtained from trash recovered at the Kohberger family's home in Pennsylvania was determined to have come from the father of the person who left the DNA on the sheath.
First Court Appearance
Bryan Kohberger had his first court appearance before a Latah County judge on Thursday, January 5. The suspect, who faces four charges of first degree murder as well as a burglary charge, appeared confident and happy as he interacted with public defender Anne Taylor.
Kohberger reportedly paid no attention to the victims' families, who watched him from the front row of the courtroom, crying.
Magistrate Court Judge Megan Marshall has denied Kohberger bail and a pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for January 12th.
January 12th Pretrial Hearing
Bryan Kohberger appeared in court for his pretrial hearing on January 12th. Noticeably more subdued this time than he was during his first court appearance, the 28-year-old waived his right to a speedy preliminary hearing.
Had he not done this, his preliminary hearing would have been scheduled for a date that falls within 14 days of his first court appearance, which was on January 5th.
As it stands now, Bryan Kohberger's next appearance in court is set for June 26th.
"2022 University of Idaho Killings," Wikipedia
"Idaho murders: Coroner weighs in," Rebecca Rosenberg, Fox News, December 14th, 2022
"A month after 4 students were killed, police have yet to name a suspect," Aya Elamroussi, CNN, December 13, 2022
"Suspect Bryan Christopher Kohberger arrested in killings of 4 university students," Rebecca Rosenberg, Stephanie Pagones, Audrey Conklin, and Michael Ruiz, Fox News, December 30, 2022
"Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger's Washington neighbors, witnesses, react to grad student's arrest," Stephanie Pagones, Fox News, December 30, 2022
"Suspect in the Idaho student killings plans to waive extradition hearing, attorney says", Dakin Andone, CNN, January 1, 2023
"Bryan Kohberger stalked University of Idaho victims before murders," Jesse O'Neill, The New York Post, January 1, 2023