It took 47 days, 300 interrogations and the review of 16,500 clues, 9,025 emails and 4,575 phone calls to find a suspect in the murder, on November 13, of four students from the University of Idaho, stabbed by early morning, while they slept in the house they shared in the town of Moscow, in the state located in the east of the country. This is Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old criminology student. Special forces have arrested him this morning near Scranton (Pennsylvania). He was hiding in the Pocomo Mountains, on the other side of the United States, four thousand kilometers away from the scene of the crime. Following a court hearing set for January 3, he awaits extradition to Idaho, where he is wanted on four counts of first-degree murder.
At the moment, no further information has been released about Kohberger’s possible motives or if he had any relationship with the victims. It is known that he was not a student at the same educational center, but was studying about 16 kilometers away, in the nearby town of Pullman, where one of the Washington State University campuses is located. Moscow police have called a press conference at 1:00 p.m. West Coast time to provide more details.
To say that the deaths of Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen, 21, and Xana Kernodle and her boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, both 20, shocked the college town where they lived is an understatement. The massacre was the first recorded murder in the town (26,000 inhabitants; of which 10,000 are students) in seven years. The delay of the police in offering answers inflamed the spirits of the small community, and gave free rein to conspiracy theories on the Internet.
The case took a new, more public turn after police asked citizens for help finding a white sedan that was seen near the house on car night. The request for collaboration exceeded expectations, and local authorities had to ask the FBI for help to manage the avalanche of calls.
At the time of his arrest, authorities have also seized a Hyundai Elantra matching the police description.
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Three of the four victims shared a three-story rented house with two other students, who slept on the ground floor and escaped the carnage unharmed. It was they, Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke, who discovered the bodies the next morning. The fourth, Ethan Chapin, was there spending the night with his girlfriend. Autopsies indicated that all four were likely asleep at the time of the attack. Some were injured while trying to defend themselves from the series of stab wounds. There were no signs of sexual assault, according to police.
The fear that a multiple murderer was on the loose in Moscow caused almost half of the students to opt for the classes on-line. Many of them exchanged the exciting university life for the security of returning to their parents’ home. The University of Idaho hired an additional security company, and police stepped up their presence on the streets at night. After the arrest announced today on the other side of the country, it is very likely that your neighbors will sleep more peacefully tonight.