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Police have successfully used DNA, video footage, and phone records to identify a suspect believed to have murdered four college students in Idaho. Bryan Kohberger has been accused of fatally stabbing four University of Idaho friends at their shared home in Moscow, ID.
Among the victims were Kaylee Goncalves, 21, and Madison Mogen, 21, who, according to Gonclaves’ father, were inseparable friends. Goncalves and Mogen were in the same bed when the suspect stabbed them repeatedly.
The other two victims, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were also killed in bed. Kernodle and Chapin were in a relationship and were also close friends with Goncalves and Mogen, the four of them having taken a photograph together just an hour before their tragic deaths.
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The four victims weren’t the only occupants of the Moscow home that Kohberger targeted. Dylan Mortensen, who encountered Kohberger as he was exiting the house, and Bethany Funke were surprisingly left unharmed. Even stranger is that Mortensen waited eight hours to report the incident to law enforcement.
When police finally arrived at the scene, they found a crucial piece of evidence, a leather knife sheath left behind by the killer. The sheath was immediately sent to a crime lab for DNA testing. In addition to DNA evidence from the sheath, police used video footage of a suspicious vehicle and phone records to build a case against Kohberger.
In video footage from a nearby camera, police identified his Hyundai Elantra speeding past the house on the night of the murders. While they couldn’t determine the plate number, identifying the car’s model allowed an officer to pull Kohberger over some two weeks after the murders.
The officer noted that Koberg’s “bushy eyebrows” matched the description given by Mortensen. From there, investigators looked into Koberg and his academic history, eventually discovering that he took great interest in a forensic psychologist who studied the famous serial killer Dennis Rader.
Ironically, Kohberger was a criminal justice and criminology Ph.D. student studying the same technology that police used to apprehend him. When results from the knife sheath DNA testing came back, police matched the DNA with that of Koberg’s father, indicating that Bryan must have taken his knife to commit the murders.
Finally, investigators used Koberg’s phone records to show that he had likely surveilled the victims’ home before the murder and even returned afterward. On December 30th, police arrested Koberg at his home. Since then, he has appeared in court, where he was told that he might face life in prison or the death penalty.
Now, all the victims’ families can do is wait for a verdict and mourn the tragic loss of the students whose lives were taken far too soon.