Idaho Murders: Four Students Stabbed to Death

Kate Gmytrasiewicz, Staff Writer

In the early hours of November 13, 2022, four students were repeatedly stabbed to death on the campus of the University of Idaho. The victims, Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were reportedly outside of their housing the night prior to the attacks, leading into the morning of the event. Though it was found that all four victims returned to their housing around 1:45 in the morning, court documents revealed that the murders unfolded a few hours later, between 4 and 4:25 a.m. Just before the suspect made his way onto the campus, Kernodle received a DoorDash order, signifying her consciousness. What was considered to be “a short time after,” a noise, similar to crying, came from Kernodle’s room. This was when the initiator of the criminal activity was found standing in “black clothes and a mask,” saying something along the lines of “it’s ok, I’m going to help you” (Washington Post). Police were called later that morning, close to 8 hours after the homicides. 

Bryan Kohberger, the accused assailant, is a 28-year-old criminology Ph.D. student at Washington State University, which is located less than 10 miles away from the University of Idaho, where the students were murdered.  In his teenage years, Kohberger wrote online about his struggle with mental health. Suicidal and demonstrating a lack of emotion and minimal remorse, he turned to heroin to deal with his lifelong struggle with depression. This would lead to his later interest in criminal activity, and criminals themselves. He was reportedly intrigued by the mental state of murderers, saying he would one day work with high-profile offenders. After completing a bachelor’s degree, Kohberger asked criminals to share their experiences while in prison and take a survey regarding their actions. Asking specifically for their “thoughts, emotions and actions from the beginning to end of the crime commission process,” Bryan Kohberger curated his course of action to avoid being caught (New York Times). 

Nearly a month after the stabbings, on December 15, 2022, Kohberger was stopped for numerous traffic violations. After being questioned, he was let go twice with a verbal warning. This ultimately led to further examination, and eventually revealed his association with the murders. DNA from the suspect was found on a knife sheath, which was left on a victim’s bed. A few days later, police recovered trash from Kohberger’s parents’ house, which led to the determination that the DNA from the trash was the father of the person who left DNA on the knife sheath. On December 30, Bryan Kohberger was arrested for four counts of first-degree murder and burglary.