Law enforcement in Idaho held a brief press conference to confirm the arrest of a suspect in connection to the fatal stabbings of four college students approximately six weeks ago.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger has been charged with four counts of murder as well as a criminal trespassing charge in connection to the Nov. 13 murders that shocked the nation.
Kohberger was taken into custody around 3 am on Dec. 30 in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania near Scranton. He is a Ph.D. candidate studying Criminology at Washington State University, approximately 15 minutes away from the University of Idaho. He has appeared in court in Pennslyvania and is currently awaiting extradition to Idaho. His next court appearance will be on Jan. 3 in Pennsylvania, where he is currently being represented by a public defender.
“These murders have shaken out the community and no arrest will ever bring back these young students,” said Moscow Police Chief James Fry at the start of the Dec. 30 press conference. “However, we do believe justice will be found through the criminal process.”
Bill Thompson, the Latah County prosecutor, asked the media for their patience as the information is restricted pending the investigation.
The prosecutor added that “factual information” of the case is summarized in the probable cause affidavit on file with the court. However, per the precedent set by the Idaho Supreme Court on pre-trial publicity, the affidavit must remain sealed until Kohberger is present in an Idaho court. It is not yet clear when extradition will occur. The prosecutor asked the media to refer to the document while reporting when it is made available.
“This is not the end of this investigation,” Thompson said. “In fact, this is a new beginning.”
Thompson asked the public to come forward with information about Kohberger as it may assist with the investigation as well as the case brought against him.
Colonel Kedrick Wells of the Idaho State Police acknowledged the national attention the quadruple murder has gained. He thanked Fry for his leadership and the investigators from multiple law enforcement agencies for their dedication. He also thanked the Pennsylvania state police for their assistance in the last 24 hours.
The four victims – Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin – were all students at the University of Idaho. They were found stabbed to death on Nov. 13 in an off-campus apartment rented by the three women and two other roommates. The other roommates were asleep on the first floor of the house at the time of the crime and were unharmed.
Police responding to a 911 call about an unconscious person found two victims on the second floor and two victims on the third floor. Autopsies performed in the days after the crime confirmed each student died due to homicide by stabbing.
In the six weeks since the crime, the Moscow Police Department has been criticized at times for releasing limited details about the investigation. The parents of Chapin told Fox News they were frustrated at the “lack of information” which “only fuels false rumors and innuendo in the press and social media.”
Gonclaves’ father said the police had said there was so much evidence that “it’s going to take a lot of time to process it all.”
Moscow’s police chief said he “one hundred percent” stands by how his department has handled the case.
Fry declined to say what information led them to Kohberger in Pennsylvania or if investigators knew if Kohberger had been on campus after Nov. 13. He confirmed a Hyundai Elantra has been recovered, but he did not confirm if the searched-for White Hyundai Elantra was seized at Kohberger’s residence, as is rumored. Fry said more information about the search for the car will come out in the near future.
Fry also confirmed that the murder weapon has still not been recovered. In response to a question from a reporter, the police chief said the clean-up of the house where the crime occurred has been stopped following a “legal request of the court.”
“We want to have a situation where, when this goes to trial, there is no doubt that we’ve done everything right,” Fry told reporters.