Idaho murders: Key takeaways from affidavit in case against Bryan Kohberger and some questions that remain

BOISE, Idaho– DNA allegedly found on a knife sheath found at the crime scene.

A roommate described a masked figure with “bushy eyebrows.”

Telephone records showed that the suspect was in the vicinity of the victims’ homes on several occasions in the months leading up to the killings.

Nearly two months after the killing of four University of Idaho students swept the country and sowed fear in the small community of Moscow, Idaho, an affidavit released Thursday offered a glimpse into the investigative work leading to the identification of Bryan Kohberger as a led suspects.

RELATED: Timeline of Idaho murders

The 28-year-old criminal justice graduate student was extradited to Idaho from his home state of Pennsylvania on Wednesday. Facing four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary, Kohberger did not enter a plea bargain when he first appeared in court Thursday.

The suspect was arrested in Pennsylvania on December 30, nearly seven weeks after Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found fatally stabbed in a home off campus.

Here are the key takeaways from the court documents — including the probable cause affidavit used to support Kohberger’s arrest and obtain a warrant — and some unanswered questions.

Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogen were killed off campus at the University of Idaho.

Obtained from CNN

DNA allegedly found on a knife sheath at the crime scene

Trash recovered from the Kohberger family’s Pennsylvania home late last month and sent to the Idaho State Lab for DNA testing found that the “DNA profile obtained from the trash” matched a tan leather knife sheath that One of the victims was found “lying on the bed,” according to the probable cause affidavit.

The DNA in the trash “identified a man who has not been ruled out as the biological father” of the suspect whose DNA was found on the vagina.

“It is expected that at least 99.9998% of the male population will be barred from the possibility of being the suspect’s biological father,” the affidavit said.


The roommate saw a figure dressed in black with a mask

One of two housemates who were not injured told investigators she saw a masked man dressed in black in the home on the morning of the attack, according to the probable cause affidavit.

The roommate, identified as DM in the document, said she “heard crying” in the house that morning and a male voice saying, “It’s okay, I’ll help you.”


Bryan Kohberger, accused of killing four University of Idaho students, is escorted to an extradition hearing outside the Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke, Pool

DM told investigators she saw a “figure dressed in black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose walking toward them,” the affidavit said.

“DM described the character as being 5 feet 10 inches or taller, male, not very muscular but of athletic build with bushy eyebrows,” the affidavit reads. “The man walked past DM as she stood in ‘frozen shock.'”

“The male went to the rear sliding glass door. DM locked herself in her room after seeing the male,” the document said, which said the roommate did not recognize the male.

Surveillance video showed a white sedan

Authorities reviewed local surveillance footage and were attracted to a white sedan later identified as a Hyundai Elantra, according to the affidavit.

The vehicle was seen in the area around the house where the killings took place.

By Nov. 25, local law enforcement agencies were notified to be on the lookout for the vehicle, the affidavit said.

Days later, officials at nearby Washington State University, where the suspect was a criminal justice graduate student, identified a white Elantra and found that it was registered to Kohberger.

According to the affidavit, Kohberger’s driver’s license details matched the description the uninjured roommate gave investigators.

The document specifically noted Kohberger’s height and weight — 6 feet and 185 pounds — and that he has bushy eyebrows.

White Elantra at Kohberger’s parents’ home in Pennsylvania

Kohberger received a new license plate for his Elantra five days after the murders, the affidavit said, citing records from the Washington State Department of Licensing.

At the time of Kohberger’s arrest last week, a white Elantra was found at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania, according to Monroe County Chief Public Defender Jason LaBar, who said Kohberger was driving home for the holiday.

The suspect’s phone was used at least a dozen times near the college dorm

Phone records show that Kohberger’s phone was near the victim’s home at least 12 times since June, according to court documents.

“All but one of these events occurred in the late evening and early morning hours of their respective days.”

Additionally, records show that Kohberger’s phone was near the scene of the crime — 1122 King Road — between 9:12 a.m. and 9:21 a.m. — hours after the murders, according to court documents.

A review of phone records showed that Kohberger’s phone left his home at around 9 a.m. and traveled to Moscow, the affidavit said, and that the same phone “traveled back to the area of ​​the Kohberger residence … at around 9 a.m. in the area.” arrived: 32 o’clock”

Expert perspectives

Prominent defense attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. of Philadelphia and retired FBI agent Laura Zartman are not involved in the case, but both reviewed the newly unsealed affidavit.

Both agree that DNA and tracing Kohberger’s phone were key to the investigation.

“Very quickly after that, they got DNA from the house in Pennsylvania – they could finally say ‘aha’,” explains Zartman.

Cell phone tracking helped police solidify the movements of the white Hyundai Elantra near victims’ homes on the night of the killings and in the weeks leading up to the crimes.

“It could certainly go to court. I’ve seen cases with overwhelming evidence and the client still wants their day in court,” Perri said. “While the investigation conducted was exhaustive, it does not appear to be a challenging case to present to a jury.”

The suspect applied for a police internship in 2022

Kohberger applied for an internship with the Pullman Police Department in Washington in the fall of 2022, court documents show.

“According to records provided by a member of the Pullman Police Department interview panel, we have learned that Kohberger’s previous education included bachelor’s degrees in psychology and cloud-based forensics,” the affidavit said.

“These records also showed that Kohberger wrote an essay when he applied for an internship with the Pullman Police Department in the fall of 2022. In his essay, Kohberger wrote that he was interested in helping rural law enforcement agencies better collect and analyze technological data related to public safety measures.”

Nevertheless, questions remain

Almost two months after the murders, however, a number of questions remain unanswered.

It’s not clear why the uninjured roommate didn’t immediately call 911 or why the roommates were spared.

The motive for the crime also remains a mystery, and police have said they are still searching for the murder weapon.

The documents released Thursday do not indicate whether Kohberger had any other reason for being in the area at the time of the killings.

Why was Kohberger arrested more than six weeks after the victims were found dead?

And authorities have not said publicly whether Kohberger knew any of the victims.

The CNN Wire & 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery company. All rights reserved. Idaho murders: Key takeaways from affidavit in case against Bryan Kohberger and some questions that remain

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