A 28-year-old man was arrested Friday in the Poconos on first-degree murder charges in the killings of four University of Idaho students who were stabbed to death on November 13 in their college rental house near campus.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger, a criminology doctoral student at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, was arrested Friday by local police, Pennsylvania State Police, and the FBI in connection with the brutal quadruple homicide that took place in Moscow, Idaho, and he was hauled before a judge earlier Friday.
Kohberger, 28, was arrested after a SWAT team raided the location in Chestnuthill Township, Pa., where he was staying at around 3 a.m. Friday.
Kohberger is being held without bond on what are believed to be first-degree murder and felony burglary charges but prosecutors said they would not release his probable cause arrest affidavit until the suspect is returned to Idaho, a process that could take days or up to 3 months.
The victims were Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.
He is due back in court on January 3 for an extradition hearing in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, with a public defender.
Authorities have not released a possible motive but the extradition hearing could shed more light on the case and reveal when he may be sent to Idaho.
The suspect was arrested based on a warrant early Friday morning in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. A criminal complaint filed in Idaho charges Kohberger with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary, Latah County, Idaho Prosecutor Bill Thompson said.
For weeks, authorities have been searching for a white Hyundai Elantra. Police on Friday said they had taken custody of a white Elantra but declined to elaborate.
The four victims were stabbed but police said that no knife was found. It remains uncertain whether other suspects were involved in the crime.
Police initially said the deaths were an “isolated targeted attack,” and seemed to confirm that again Friday. But they declined to discuss if there were other potential suspects.
The uncertainty over the motive prompted many students at the University of Idaho to switch to online classes for the remainder of the semester.
Extra police flooded the city during the investigation, trying to bring a sense of security to the unsettled community.
“Today’s news of an arrest is a welcome one,” said University of Idaho President Scott Green. “It’s a relief to our university, our community, and our extended Vandal family. We never lost faith that this case would be solved.”
The Moscow Police Department acknowledged the arrest but still could reveal very little about the investigation into the killing of four University of Idaho students at an off-campus apartment.
“These murders have shaken our community, and no arrest will ever bring back these young students,” said Moscow Police Chief James Fry. “We have an individual in custody who committed these horrible crimes and I do believe our community is safe.”
“These tragic murders took four young, vibrant lives from our community. Nothing we do can bring them back,” said Idaho State Police Colonel Kedrick Wills. “The only thing that we can do in law enforcement to honor their memories, that we know of, is to bring this to a successful conclusion.”
Sources said that Kohberger is on suicide watch at Monroe County PA Correctional Facility, the Pennsylvania jail where he is being held
Sources said Kohberger has had a “quiet, blank stare” from the time of his capture through all the while he was processed and he had asked officers at one point whether anyone else was arrested.
Court documents show the judge ordered Kohberger’s extradition to Idaho where he will face criminal charges.
Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said Kohberger was arrested on four counts of first-degree murder and a count of felony burglary for entering the house with intent to commit murder.
According to CNN, Kohberger’s DNA has been matched to samples recovered at the scene of the murders.
Kohberger graduated from DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, and he recently completed his first semester as a PhD student in Washington State University’s criminal justice program.
DeSales University issued a statement saying, “Kohberger received a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completed his graduate studies in June 2022. As a Catholic, Salesian community, we are devastated by this senseless tragedy.”
The Washington State University Police Department assisted Idaho law enforcement officials in the execution of search warrants at Kohberger’s apartment and office, which are both located on the WSU Pullman campus.
Washington State University is just about eight miles away from the University of Idaho. The two universities are partners in several academic programs, and students sometimes attend classes and seminars or work at the neighboring schools.
Police are working closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement officials as they continue their investigation.