MOSCOW, Idaho — The family of the man arrested in connection with the quadruple stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students released a statement through his attorney on Sunday.
“First and foremost, we care deeply for the four families who lost their precious children. There are no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel, and we pray for them every day. We will continue to let the legal process unfold and as a family we will love and support our son and our brother.We have fully cooperated with law enforcement in an effort to seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence rather than to judge unknown facts and make incorrect assumptions. We respect privacy in this case as our family and families experiencing loss can move forward through the legal process.”
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Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested in his home state of Pennsylvania and charged with four counts of first-degree murder, as well as burglary in connection with the stabbing deaths of four University students. from Idaho in November, according to Latah County. Attorney Bill Thompson.
Still, investigators have not publicly confirmed the suspect’s motive or whether he knew the victims. The murder weapon has also not been located, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said Friday.
In the nearly seven weeks since the students were found stabbed to death in an off-campus house, investigators have conducted more than 300 interviews and scoured approximately 20,000 tips in their search for the suspect. News of the murders – and the long period without a suspect or significant developments – shook the University of Idaho community and the surrounding city of Moscow, which had not seen a murder in seven years.
Investigators identified Kohberger as the suspect through DNA evidence and by confirming he owned a white Hyundai Elantra seen near the crime scene, according to two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation.
Kohberger, who authorities say lived minutes from the scene of the murders, is a doctoral student in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University, the school confirmed.
He drove across the country in a white Hyundai Elantra and arrived at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania around Christmas, according to a law enforcement source. Authorities began tracking him at some point during his journey east of Idaho.
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“Shortly before Christmas, we focused on him being in or leaving Pennsylvania,” the source told CNN.
An FBI surveillance team followed him for four days before his arrest while law enforcement worked with prosecutors to develop enough probable cause to obtain a warrant, the two law enforcement sources said. .
Genetic genealogy techniques were used to link Kohberger to unidentified DNA evidence, another source with knowledge of the matter told CNN. The DNA was analyzed in a public database for potential matches to family members, and subsequent investigative work by law enforcement led him to be the suspect, the source said. .
Suspect is ‘a bit shocked,’ says defense attorney
Kohberger was arraigned Friday morning in Pennsylvania and is being held without bail, records show.
Kohberger intends to waive his extradition hearing to expedite his transportation to Idaho, Monroe County Chief Public Defender Jason LaBar said in a statement to CNN on Saturday.
“Mr. Kohberger is eager to be cleared of these charges and looks forward to resolving these issues as quickly as possible,” LaBar said.
LaBar later told CNN that Kohberger arrived in Pennsylvania around Dec. 17 to celebrate the holiday with his family.
“His dad actually went out (to Idaho) and they drove home together,” LaBar said.
He said Kohberger’s white Hyundai Elantra was found at his parents’ home, where authorities apprehended him early Friday. LaBar said his client’s father, Michael, answered the police door. Both father and son were cooperative, he said.
LaBar said he recommended his client undergo a psychological test before the court proceedings.
Kohberger is alone in a cell, LaBar said, and “watched around the clock by the guards there to ensure his safety.”
LaBar said the extradition hearing was a “formality proceeding.” He said all the Commonwealth has to prove is that his client looks like or is the person targeted by the arrest warrant and was in the area at the time of the crime.
LaBar said he spoke to Kohberger for about an hour Friday night, discussing his whereabouts at the time of the killings. “Knowing of course that it’s likely they already have location data from his cell phone putting him on the Washington-Idaho border,” LaBar told CNN, “it was an easy call obviously. , since he does not dispute that he is Bryan Kohberger.”
Kohberger is “a little shocked,” LaBar said.
LaBar added, “We don’t really know much about the case. I don’t have any affidavit or probable cause. I didn’t want to discuss the case with him because I’m just his representation for that matter. process as to whether or not he wants to be extradited to Idaho.”
The investigation continues
Even with one suspect charged, law enforcement’s work is far from done, prosecutors said.
“It’s not the end of this investigation. In fact, it’s a new beginning,” Thompson said Friday night.
Thompson urged people to keep submitting information, asking anyone with information about the suspect “to come forward, call the tip line, report anything you know about him to help investigators “.
Since the murder of the four students — Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20 some community members grew frustrated as investigators have yet to offer a full account of how the night unfolded. Authorities have released limited details, including the victims’ activities leading up to the attacks and who they have ruled out as suspects.
Fry told reporters Friday that state law limits what information authorities can release before Kohberger makes his first court appearance in Idaho. The probable cause affidavit — which details the factual basis of Kohberger’s charges — is sealed until the suspect is physically in Latah County, Idaho, and has received the warrant for his arrest. Idaho, Thompson said.
What we know about the suspect
Kohberger is a resident of Pullman, Washington, a town about nine miles from the site of the murders, authorities said. His apartment and office on Washington State University’s Pullman campus were searched by law enforcement on Friday morning, the university confirmed in a statement.
In June 2022, he completed his graduate studies at DeSales University, where he was also an undergraduate student, according to a statement posted on the school’s website. He also earned an associate’s degree from Northampton Community College in 2018, the college confirmed to CNN.
LaBar called Kohberger “very smart.”
The attorney said he spoke with Kohberger’s family Friday night for 15 to 20 minutes.
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“They are also very shocked,” he said. “Out of character for Bryan… The FBI, local police, Idaho state troopers were home around 3 a.m. yesterday, knocking on the door and announcing they had to come in, shocked and fear.”
In a Reddit post deleted after news of Kohberger’s arrest broke, a student investigator named Bryan Kohberger who was associated with a DeSales University study asked to participate in a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime”.
“In particular, this study seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offense, with a focus on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience,” the post reads.
CNN reached out to one of the study’s lead investigators, a DeSales University professor, but they declined to comment on the matter. The university did not respond to requests for comment.
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ABC7 Chicago contributed to this post.