The man was arrested in connection with the November killing of four University of Idaho students who were found stabbed to death while attending a university in nearby Washington state and crossing the country to vacation with their parents in December.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested Friday in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, against Moscow, the Idaho State Police and the Latta County Attorney’s Office, according to the criminal complaint A warrant was issued for first-degree murder.
The four students killed — Kelly Gonsalves, 21; Madison Morgan, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Knodle’s boyfriend, Ethan Kernodle, 20, Ethan Chapin was stabbed multiple times at an off-campus residence in Moscow University City.
Monroe County’s chief public defender, Jason LaBalle, told CNN that Coberg was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania, where Coberg went a few days before Christmas. The lawyer added that authorities had been looking for the white Elantra, who was also at the parents’ home, in connection with the killing.
“He’s at home for the holidays,” Rabar said.
Kohberger’s father traveled with him from Washington state to Pennsylvania, the public defender and a person who said they had contact with the father and son in early December said.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they did not know the father and son, but had a friendly conversation with them on Dec. 16 at a Pennsylvania auto repair shop while the pair were working on their Elantra. (Another person also confirmed to CNN that the father and son were at the location for business on Dec. 16.)
The father told the other party that he flew to Washington state and took a cross-country trip with Kohberger, adding that his son will head to the West Coast alone after the holiday. Police have not indicated any involvement of the suspect’s father in the killing. CNN attempted to reach the father for comment.
The person described the young Kohberger as “a bit awkward,” but not suspicious. The suspect reportedly told the other party that he wanted to enter the field of behavioral criminal justice and become a professor.
Kohberger was a graduate student in Washington State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, according to a now-deleted list of college graduates seen by CNN earlier Friday.
Kohberger completed his first semester as a doctoral student in the university’s criminal justice program in early December, the university said in a statement Friday.
Earlier in the day, University Police assisted authorities in executing a search warrant on his office and apartment on the school’s Pullman campus.
The Pullman hotel is about a 15-minute drive from Moscow, where the killings took place.
Kohberger intends to forego an extradition hearing scheduled for Jan. 3 in Idaho to expedite his transfer to the state, Rabar said, adding that his client is “eager to be exonerated” from the charges.
Kohberger was previously an undergraduate and graduate student at DeSales University, according to a statement on the school’s website. According to its official Facebook page, DeSales is a Catholic university in Pennsylvania.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completed “postgraduate studies in the criminal justice master’s program” earlier this year, according to a university spokesman.
Kohberger’s attorney described his client as “very smart,” adding that “he understands where we are.”
In a post that was removed from Reddit after the arrest became public, Bryan Kohberger, a student investigator associated with the DeSales University study, sought participation in a research project “to understand how emotional and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime.”
“In particular, this study seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal conduct, with a focus on how you thought and felt throughout the experience,” the post said.
CNN contacted one of the study’s lead investigators, a professor at the University of DeSales, but they declined to comment for this story. The university did not respond to comment.
A spokesperson for Northampton Community College, also in Pennsylvania, confirmed that Kohberger was a student at the college and graduated in 2018 with an associate degree in arts and psychology.
In early December, authorities asked the public for information about a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra they believe was in the “immediate area” of the crime scene at the time of the killing.
After providing numerous leads, investigators focused on Kohberger by going after Elantra’s ownership, according to two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation.
His DNA also matched that found at the crime scene, according to the sources, who also explained that authorities believe Kohberger left the area after the murder and traveled to Pennsylvania.
An FBI surveillance team tracked the suspect for several days in the area where he was arrested, the source added.
Kohberger is believed to have driven the Elantra across the country to his parents’ home, a law enforcement source said. Authorities have also been monitoring his parents’ house, sources said.
Authorities are monitoring Kohberger while investigators from the Moscow Police Department, Idaho State Police and the FBI work with prosecutors to develop strong probable grounds for an arrest warrant.
Lawyer Rabar said the suspect’s family was “absolutely shocked,” adding that they were “in awe of what was happening” and felt it was “out of Bryan’s character.”
Authorities still want to hear from anyone who might be able to learn more about Kohberger.
“This is not the end of the investigation, in fact, this is a new beginning,” Latta County Attorney Bill Thompson said Friday. “You all now know the name of the person accused of these crimes, please make this information public and ask the public, anyone who knows this person to come forward.”
Thompson added: “Report anything you know about him to help investigators, and ultimately our office and the court system, fully understand everything that is known, not just about this person, but what happened and why. ”