The Idaho Murders, from start to finish


He has been called “The Dumbest Killer Known to Man”.  This is a bold statement for a criminal who was only caught a mere three months ago. This remark is referring to the perpetrator of the November 13 slayings of four college students in their home in Moscow, Idaho. After informing the public for weeks that they had no leads whatsoever, the long awaited break in the case with a major suspect, Bryan Kohberger, was finally announced. Before I go into details on how he was caught, let me walk you through the crime. 

In the late hours of November 12, young students Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen, and Ethan Chapin were all out partying. Chapin and Kernodle had attended a fraternity party a mere one minute walk from their home, while Goncalves and Mogen had been heading from bar to bar, and even worked their way to a food truck. Nothing had seemed off with the girls that night, but what would happen to them only four hours later would make people second guess what they were really doing and who they had been with. When the four students were found around noon the next day, police would go on to describe the scene as the worst one they’ve ever witnessed. 

The first sign of Kohberger the public has seen was from the security footage of Goncalves and Mogen at their local food truck. In the background is a white Hyundai Elantra that seemingly leaves the exact moment the girls walk off screen. Further footage shows the same white Elantra outside of the students’ home just after four a.m. as he proceeds to speed off, leaving tire marks. Police then worked their way inside of the house to scour for clues.

All of the students were inside, most asleep, by 2:30 a.m. This includes Chapin, Goncalves, Mogen, Kernodle, and both surviving roommates, who the media has left unnamed. Everything seemed fine in the house; one of the roommates was even posting on her social media accounts at 3:33 a.m., when all of a sudden, D.B., a surviving roommate, heard a loud thud upstairs, crying, and then a man’s voice saying “I am going to help you.” She thought that Kernodle was crying to her boyfriend, Chapin, and that nothing was wrong. This was only minutes after she heard Goncalves mutter something along the lines of “there’s someone here”.  At that point, D.B. walked to her bedroom door, opened it a crack, and made eye contact with the killer. This leaves the question of why he spared her life, while upstairs, her roommates had been bludgeoned to death. 

The first room entered was Goncalves’ room, where Mogen had been sleeping as well. Coroner reports that Goncalves’s injuries were far more severe than the rest, with her head so deeply cut at the throat it was almost detached. Kohberger then walked downstairs, found his way to Kernodle’s room and first attacked Chapin, which was believed to have woken Kernodle up. Chapin had attempted to make an escape, but did not make it out of the door and collapsed due to a deep gash in his neck. Kernodle was then attacked in her bed, but not without a fight. The coroner found deep cuts in her fingers, indicating a battle between the killer and his last victim. Both Chapin and Kernodle succumbed to injuries and died that night, along with Mogen and Goncalves. Kohberger would then head out of the house, but not without leaving an abundance of evidence behind. 

The next morning, police were notified, but not for what you would expect. A roommate had walked upstairs to see where everyone was and happened upon the scene. She would then fall unconscious and the other roommate would call the police regarding the unconscious friend. When the first officer got there, he found the students and immediately called for backup. Upon investigation, they found a bloody footprint, obtained an eye witness, found the killer’s engraved knife sheath, and acquired security camera footage. For almost two months, police kept this under wraps, not letting any information slip out to the public. Behind the scenes, police had been tracking Kohberger all the way back to his home in Pennsylvania. After watching Kohberger thoroughly clean his car, detectives and FBI agents went undercover as garbage men to obtain the items Kohberger had thrown away —this is the point in which they would discover that he disposed of his things in his neighbors’ garbage cans. 

After gaining enough information and evidence to get a search warrant from a judge, the police finally searched Kohberger’s garbage cans on the night of December 27th. Upon the search, officers found bloody clothes and garbage full of DNA from the scene. Along with the already damning evidence, fur from the dog belonging to one of the victims, Goncalves, was found on the bloody clothes in the garbage. Only three days later, the official arrest raid was made in the middle of the night. Details about the official arrest have not been shared with the public. 

After being held in a county jail for six days, Kohberger first appeared in court Thursday, January 5, where he requested bail. After looking the case over, the judge denied his request. During this hearing, Kohberger was read his charges while he sat across from the judge, seemingly emotionless, and silent, only replying “yes” to her. Officially, Kohberger was charged with four counts of first degree murder and felony burglary. His next court hearing has been set for June 26th. Until then, many questions will be left unanswered. 

As the victims’ families and close friends continue to grieve the loss of their loved ones, Kohberger will be behind bars and officers will likely continue to collect evidence against him. Although this waiting still leaves many ideas up to interpretation. Which direction was the bloody footprint facing? Why was he stalking those students specifically? How was he connected to the group? Did he know Ethan was in the house? Was anyone else involved? As questions and theories continue to fill the internet, keep the people who were affected in your thoughts. Until June 26th, this is all still a mystery.