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.
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, almost 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 aid in Kohberger’s arrest and obtaining a warrant — and some unanswered questions.
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 “On the bed” of one of the victims was found, 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.
According to the affidavit released Thursday, the suspect in the case falls into what criminal profilers are calling an “organized perpetrator” who likely planned and prepared the attack, said John Miller, CNN’s chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst.
But the suspect made a “rookie mistake,” Miller said: he left the knife sheath at the crime scene. Other experts agree.
“Leaving a knife sheath was clearly a mistake … and could have happened for a number of reasons,” said retired FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole. The suspect may have had to immediately use the knife and quickly unsheath the sheath, or the victim’s reactions may not have been what the suspect expected, O’Toole said. The perpetrator was also likely in a state of agitation during the commission of the crime, O’Toole added, “and her attention to detail would have waned, which would have led him at least somewhat to make mistakes.”
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.
Identified as DM in the document, the roommate said she “heard crying” in the house that morning and a man’s voice saying, ‘It’s okay, I’ll help you.'”
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 man went to the rear sliding glass door. DM locked herself in her room after seeing the man,” the document said, which said the roommate did not recognize the man.
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.
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.
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 occasions 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 the court documents.
A review of the phone records revealed 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 territory of the Kohberger residence … at approximately 9:32 a.m. in.” arrived at the area ”
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 better collect and analyze technological data related to public safety measures.”
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.
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