Crime Buff Who Studied Eight Miles Away Arrested in Idaho Murders

More than six weeks after after four University of Idaho students were found murdered in their beds, police finally made a move on Friday, arresting a 28-year-old criminology student who studied just miles from the off-campus residence that became a brutal crime scene.A local law enforcement source confirmed to The Daily Beast that an arrest

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More than six weeks after after four University of Idaho students were found murdered in their beds, police finally made a move on Friday, arresting a 28-year-old criminology student who studied just miles from the off-campus residence that became a brutal crime scene.

A local law enforcement source confirmed to The Daily Beast that an arrest was made out of state. Citing unnamed sources, NBC News, Fox News and local outlet KHQ reported that the person was taken into custody in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, on Friday morning. Arrest records there identified the person as 28-year-old Bryan Christopher Kohberger from Albrightsville, Pennsylvania; he was ordered to be extradited on Jan. 3 during a hearing Friday morning.

NBC News reported that a white Hyundai Elantra was towed from the same Albrightsville house where Kohberger was arrested. Moscow Police had previously appealed for information on a white Hyundai Elantra seen in the vicinity of the murders in November.

Public records for Kohberger peg him as a registered libertarian voter with a keen interest in criminal justice and criminology. He is listed as a Ph.D student by the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University in Pullman, just eight miles from Moscow, Idaho. And he completed his graduate studies in criminal justice this year at DeSales University, in Center Valley, Pennsylvania.

A headshot of Bryan Kohberger on Washington State University’s database of criminology Pd.D students.

Washington State University

In a since-removed post on Reddit from seven months ago, Kohberger asked ex-cons to participate in a DeSales research project that sought to “understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime” and “understand the story behind your most recent criminal offense.”

In a statement to The Daily Beast, a spokesperson for DeSales said: “On Friday, December 30, DeSales University learned of the arrest of Bryan Kohberger in connection with the murder of four University of Idaho students. 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. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families during this difficult time.”

Northampton Community College in Albrightsville confirmed to The Daily Beast that Kohberger graduated in 2018. “He was a psychology major. Because this is an active police investigation, all other inquiries should be directed to law enforcement,” a spokesperson said. He was also employed as a part-time school security officer by the Pleasant Valley School District for several years until last year.

Nick Mcloughlin, 26, who was friends with Kohberger in high school and vocational school, and had been following the Moscow murders, told The Daily Beast he was floored to see Kohberger had been arrested.

He described Kohberger as a “down to earth” member of his friend group who was overweight when they graduated junior year. But at the start of senior year, Kohberger was “thinner than a rail” and turned “aggressive,” he said. He’d also picked up a new hobby: taking boxing classes.

“He always wanted to fight somebody, he was bullying people. We started cutting him off from our friend group because he was 100 percent a different person,” Mcloughlin said.

Asked what might have contributed to the change that summer, Mcloughlin said, “We have no idea.”

Mcloughlin went on to say that he and Kohberger would spend half the school day at Pleasant Valley High before heading to Monroe County’s vocational school, where they took classes related to heating and air conditioning work. He said Kohberger also took criminal justice courses to potentially become a cop.

Mcloughlin said the friendship ended when Kohberger began putting moves on his girlfriend. “He was, like, reaching out to her, saying, ‘I can get us a bottle and we hang out tonight.’”

Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin, and Xana Kernodle.

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The arrest signifies a long-awaited breakthrough after Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen, 21, and Xana Kernodle and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, both 20, were stabbed to death as they slept in their off-campus home.

Police had initially called the killings “targeted” but later walked that back, conceding for weeks that they had no murder weapon, no motive, no suspect, and no clear reason why the group were killed so brutally.

Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt described the murders as a savage ambush, revealing that the friends were “likely” attacked as they slept. The murders, she said, appeared to be “personal,” with each victim stabbed multiple times.

Before the murders, however, the four friends showed no signs of distress, with Mogen and Goncalves hanging out at a downtown bar, and Chapin and Kernodle attending a nearby fraternity party.

Adding to the mystery, two unidentified roommates slept through the entire attack, and only called police hours later when they couldn’t get one of the slain roommates to wake up. The lack of clues in the case gave way to a flurry of rumors, though police said they had cleared the two roommates who survived, as well as a man who’d received repeated phone calls from Mogen and Goncalves shortly before they were killed.

—with additional reporting by Decca Muldowney and William Bredderman

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