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What we know (and don't yet) about the suspect in the murder of college students in Idaho


Kohberger is due to appear in court on Tuesday, when, according to his lawyer, the suspect would accept extradition.

Suspect arrested in Idaho student homicide 1:04

(CNN) --

Three days after the arrest of a suspect in connection with the murder of four University of Idaho students, authorities have yet to release key details of the case, from whether the suspect knew the victims to what might have been. his alleged motive and what ultimately led to his arrest.

The arrest of Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, came nearly seven weeks after Kaylee Goncalves, 21;

Madison Mogen, 21;

Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found dead on November 13 in an off-campus home.

The man in custody is 28-year-old Bryan Christopher Kohberger, according to state and local officials and court documents.

The murders rocked the college town of Moscow, Idaho, which had not seen a similar crime in seven years, and some people in the community were frustrated with the limited information authorities shared as their investigation unfolded.

That was due in part to state law, which limits the information authorities can release before the suspect first appears in court, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said Friday the day the Authorities announced Kohberger's arrest in his home state of Pennsylvania.

And the probable cause affidavit, the legal document used to substantiate Kohberger's arrest and obtain a warrant, remains sealed until he is returned to Idaho, where he faces four counts of first-degree murder, as well as one count of robbery with home invasion, according to prosecutors in Latah County, Idaho.

That document "will tell us a lot," said Joey Jackson, a CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney.

"He'll be talking about the topic of probable cause: why he's under arrest, what's the justification for holding him and going after him from a prosecution perspective."

Kohberger is due to appear in court on Tuesday, when, according to his lawyer, the suspect would accept extradition.

The top public defender for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, expected Kohberger to be returned to Idaho within 72 hours of Tuesday's hearing, the attorney said.

Kohberger's parents and two sisters plan to attend Tuesday's hearing, public defender Jason LaBar told CNN on Monday.

They will not be allowed to visit you while there.

Here are some of the key details that are still unknown.

The relationship of the suspect to the victims

Authorities have not publicly said whether Kohberger knew any of the victims, who were found dead hours after a Saturday night outing: Chapin and Kernodle had attended a campus party that night, police said, while Mogen and Goncalves went to a downtown bar before ordering food from a late-night food truck.

Kohberger lived in the area, Fry said Friday: he was a doctoral student in the criminal justice program at the Washington State University campus in Pullman, about a 15-minute drive west of Moscow.

Kohberger was a graduate student at the school, Washington State University confirmed in a statement last week, adding that the school department helped Idaho law enforcement execute search warrants at Kohberger's campus apartment and his office.

There was also police activity Friday at a Pullman apartment complex where graduate students live, a CNN team observed.

Meanwhile, DNA played a role in the investigation, sources have told CNN.

Investigators zeroed in on Kohberger as a suspect, in part, after his DNA was matched to genetic material recovered from the house where the students were killed, two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation said.

Genetic genealogy techniques were used to connect Kohberger to unidentified DNA evidence, a source with knowledge of the case told CNN.

The DNA was run through a public database to find possible matches for family members, and subsequent investigative work by law enforcement led to the identification of him as a suspect, the source said.

Information about Kohberger's DNA and any previous relationship to the victims are key pieces of evidence, Jackson told CNN on Monday.

"Number 1: I'm looking for DNA," he said. "Was your DNA (at the residence)? ... Is there a reason to explain the DNA? Is there a basis for knowing or understanding why it would be there?

“Which brings me to number 2,” Jackson said: “Is there a pre-existing relationship?

Did he know them?

If so, how?"

The families of the victims and law enforcement are going to "go back and see if there is any connection between any of the victims and this defendant in this case," Shannon Gray, an attorney for Kaylee Goncalves' family, told CNN on Monday.

"And we're going to provide a list of all the connections that we think are important to the Moscow police," Gray said.

“We encourage the community to forward any leads or information to the Moscow Police Department regarding any contacts or any information they may have about the defendant and any of the victims in the case,” the attorney said.

The victims of the Idaho quadruple homicide are Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.

The alleged motive of the suspect

Investigators have yet to give any indication as to why Kohberger allegedly carried out the stabbings.

In the days since his arrest, emphasis has been placed on Kohberger's study of criminal justice and criminology as a student at Washington State University, a detail that a former senior FBI profiler called "very interesting."

"We've had other cases where offenders have been in study areas that more or less prepare them to commit a crime," Mary Ellen O'Toole told CNN on Sunday.

If guilty, Kohberger's "area of ​​study is not the result of cause and effect," she stressed, noting that studying the criminal mind did not "cause him to do this."

“He's interested in this, but the idea of ​​committing a violent crime had to already be there to motivate him to commit the crime,” O'Toole said.

"So this was kind of a conduit to explore what he was already interested in doing."

Kohberger was an undergraduate and graduate student at DeSales University, a Catholic university in Pennsylvania, according to a statement from the school.

She graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2020 and this year she completed her "postgraduate studies for the Master of Arts program in criminal justice," according to a university spokesperson.

In a since-deleted Reddit post after his arrest was announced, a student researcher associated with a DeSales University study named Bryan Kohberger applied to participate in a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision making.” decisions when committing a crime.

"In particular," it said, "this study seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offence, with an emphasis on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience."

Last month, Kohberger finished her first semester as a doctoral student at Washington State University, the school confirmed.

How the suspect stayed free for 7 weeks

It is also unclear why Kohberger was not arrested until more than six weeks after the victims were found dead.

Fry would not disclose Saturday when Kohberger entered law enforcement's radar, saying details of the case would be released in due time for him.

Kohberger went home to Pennsylvania for the holidays, LaBar told CNN on Saturday, adding that the suspect and his father, who accompanied his son on the trip, arrived around December 17.

A white Hyundai Elantra that authorities had been searching for in connection with the murders was found at the home of Kohberger's parents, LaBar confirmed.

The suspect drove the car to his parents' house, according to another police source, who told CNN: "At some point right before Christmas, we were concentrating on him being in or going to Pennsylvania."

An FBI surveillance team from the Philadelphia field office had been tracking him for four days in the area where he was arrested, according to two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation.

While Kohberger was being observed, investigators from the Moscow Police Department, the Idaho State Police Homicide Bureau and the FBI worked with prosecutors to develop sufficient probable cause to obtain the warrant.

Once the warrant was issued, the Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI made the arrest.

Steve Goncalves, Kaylee's father, said the family was asleep when Gray broke the news of the arrest.

"I was very excited, because it was a celebration of life, the same day we were doing that event," he told CNN's Bianna Golodryga.

Goncalves said his wife "ideally wanted us to put this event behind us before the event started so that she could focus on our girls, and that's what happened."

“We are definitely going to look at this guy, look him in the eye.

He will have to deal with us,” said Goncalves, who plans to attend the suspect's court appearances.

"He hasn't been dealing with us for seven weeks, this is nowhere near over."

The authorities continue to request information from the public.

Within an hour of announcing the arrest, Fry told CNN, authorities received approximately 400 calls.

“We want information on that individual,” Fry said Saturday.

“We want that up-to-date information so we can start building that picture now.

Any information is useful."

Jean Casarez, Lauren DelValle, John Miller, Mark Morales, Pamela Brown, Josh Campbell, Elizabeth Joseph, Stephanie Becker, Veronica Miracle, Paul P. Murphy and CNN's Stella Chan contributed to this report.

University of Idaho

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2023-01-03

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