Who is Bryan Kohberger? What we know about the Idaho college murders suspect

Investigators looking into Reddit posts from a criminology student by the same name recruiting "research participants" for a study

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Saturday, December 31, 2022
Who is Bryan Kohberger? What we know about the suspect
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Bryan Christopher Kohberger was arrested as a suspect in the Idaho college murders Friday. He was taken into custody in Pennsylvania.

CHESTNUTHILL TWP., Penn. -- More than a month after the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students rocked the small town of Moscow, Idaho, authorities announced a suspect in the grisly murders had been arrested.

Bryan Kohberger
Monroe County Correctional Facility

Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested Friday morning in the Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains region.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News police in Idaho identified Kohberger as a suspect, at least in part, by using DNA that was matched to material recovered from the crime scene. They tracked him to Chestnuthill Township, Pennsylvania through his vehicle, a white Hyundai Elantra.

The FBI had been watching the house for several days before a specialized team of state troopers and federal agents moved in and took him into custody around 1 a.m., sources said.

Online records show that Kohberger's family lives nearby in Albrightsville, Penn., in Monroe County.

RELATED: A timeline of the killings of 4 University of Idaho students

The four slain students -- Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kernodle's boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20 -- were each stabbed multiple times in the early morning hours of November 13 at an off-campus house in the small college town of Moscow.

Goncalves' family told ABC News they don't know Kohberger but are seeing connections between two that they aren't ready to discuss yet. The family said they are "happy, relieved and thankful" that there's been an arrest.

Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said in a press conference Friday afternoon that Kohberger has been charged with four counts of first degree murder, as well as felony burglary.

Washington State University grad student was studying criminology

Thompson confirmed Kohberger is a graduate student at Washington State University and has an apartment in Pullman, Washington -- just over the Idaho border, about 15 minutes from the crime scene.

Washington State University identifies Kohberger as a Ph.D. student in its department of criminal justice and criminology.

University police assisted authorities in executing search warrants at his office and apartment, both located on the school's Pullman campus, the university said in a statement.

Bryan Kohberger is shown in this undated photo.
Washington State University

Kohberger received his bachelor's degree in 2020 from DeSales University near Allentown, Pennsylvania and completed his graduate studies in June 2022. The university is located about 40 miles south of where he was arrested.

Reddit posts made by criminology student by same name under investigation

Several months ago, a user on Reddit identifying themselves as Bryan Kohberger and a criminology student at DeSales University posted multiple times recruiting "research participants" for a university study.

In the now-deleted posts, which were made starting in May 2022, the user asked for information to help a "research project that seeks to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime."

The posts linked to a survey that asked detailed questions about committing crimes. A source tells ABC News that law enforcement is aware of the Reddit posts.

"As a Catholic, Salesian community, we are devastated by this senseless tragedy," the university said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims' families during this difficult time.

Kohberger appeared before a judge in Pennsylvania earlier Friday, where the judge ordered Kohberger's extradition to Idaho where he will face criminal charges.

Kohberger now has the option to either waive extradition and return voluntarily to Idaho, or Idaho will initiate extradition proceedings through their governor's office, Thompson said.

"You all now know the name of the person who's been charged with these offenses," Thompson said. Please get that information out there. Please ask the public, anyone who knows about this individual to come forward. Call the tip line. Report anything you know about him to help the investigators and eventually our office and the court system understand fully everything there is to know, about not only the individual, but what happened and why."

Anyone with information can call the dedicated tip line at 208-883-7180 or email tipline@ci.moscow.id.us.

Full Statement from University of Idaho

Bryan Christopher Kohberger was arrested in Pennsylvania last night in connection with the King Street homicides, according to the Moscow Police Department. The U of I does not appear to have any record of Kohberger. No motive has been released by law enforcement.

This is the news we have been waiting for and a relief for our community and most importantly, the families of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin. We are grateful for the hard work of law enforcement to protect our community and bring justice.

It has been a stressful time for our university, but we never lost faith that this case would be solved and are grateful for the hard work of the MPD and their law enforcement partners. We appreciate the increased security presence of the Idaho State Police to bring comfort and calm to a community shocked and confused by this senseless crime. This was made possible by Gov. Brad Little's financial support. Vast and committed FBI resources brought important expertise to this complex case. Across the board, dedicated, highly competent personnel worked on this case.

This crime has nevertheless left a mark on our university, our community and our people. As such, counseling services remain available to all students over the break and when classes resume Wednesday, Jan. 11. Employees needing assistance can use the free and confidential EAP resources available through your benefits or contact David Talbot, university ombuds, at ombuds@uidaho.edu for additional support.

Classes in self-defense, vigilance, stalking awareness, healthy relationships and more, as well as the distribution of personal safety devices, will continue as planned. Additional security personnel have been added to the university's security team and local law enforcement will increase patrols on campus and in nearby neighborhoods.

The outpouring of support from across the state and nation helped sustain us during this most trying time. For the past several weeks, we were all Vandals, and that provided the strength that helped us navigate the international scrutiny visited on our students and employees. Kindness is contagious and provided light that reclaimed ground lost to evil and darkness. We are thankful for the compassion shown to our community.

The care for each other and resilience of our students and employees has been remarkable. Our students come first, and that was proven each and every day of this investigation. We are committed to safely delivering the college town atmosphere, campus experience and high-touch, quality education for which the University of Idaho is known.

While we cannot bring back Maddie, Kaylee, Xana and Ethan, we can thoughtfully and purposefully carry their legacy forward in the work we do. The next few months will be tough on their friends and families as the legal system begins the process of publicly prosecuting these crimes to bring justice. Let's keep them in our thoughts and prayers and continue to stand #vandalstrong.

Full statement from Washington State University

Law enforcement officials in Pennsylvania have arrested Bryan Christopher Kohberger, a Washington State University graduate student, in connection with a quadruple homicide that took place in Moscow, ID in November.

'On behalf of the WSU Pullman community, I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of the law enforcement agencies that have been working tirelessly to solve this crime,' said Elizabeth Chilton, chancellor of the WSU Pullman campus and WSU provost. 'This horrific act has shaken everyone in the Palouse region.'

'We also want to extend our deepest sympathies to the families, friends, and Vandal colleagues who were impacted by these murders,' Chilton said. 'We will long feel the loss of these young people in the Moscow-Pullman community and hope the announcement today will be a step toward healing.'

This morning, the Washington State University Police Department assisted Idaho law enforcement officials in the execution of search warrants at Mr. Kohberger's apartment and office, which are both located on the WSU campus. WSU Police are working closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement officials as they continue their investigation.

Kohberger had completed his first semester as a PhD student in WSU's criminal justice program earlier this month.

Full statement from DeSales University

On Friday, December 30, DeSales University learned of the arrest of Bryan Kohberger in connection with the murders 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.

ABC News, the Associated Press and the CNN Wire contributed to this report