On November 13, 2022, four University of Idaho students—Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20—were murdered in an off-campus residence in the college town of Moscow, Idaho. Goncalves, Mogen, and Kernodle were roommates there. Chapin was Kernodle’s boyfriend and was staying there on the night of the attack.
For Moscow, which had not seen a murder since 2015, these killings seemed incomprehensible. There were no indications of forced entry into the residence where the victims were brutally stabbed. Authorities didn’t find the murder weapon, believed to be a fixed-blade knife. Police initially stated these were targeted killings but couldn’t name a target. Two other roommates were home but were not attacked.
Yet the investigation made progress. At the end of December, 28-year-old Bryan Kohberger was arrested in Pennsylvania and extradited to Idaho where he was charged with the murders and burglary. Here is what led police to an alleged killer.
November 13, 2022: Around 1:45 a.m., Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin return to her home at 1122 King Road. Around 1:56 a.m., a private individual drops Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves off at the King Road house. At approximately 4 a.m., Kernodle receives a DoorDash order. Twelve minutes later, she’s using the TikTok app on her phone.
Between 4 a.m. and 4:25 a.m., Goncalves and Mogen are killed in a bedroom on the third floor of the house. Kernodle and Chapin are murdered in a bedroom on the second floor.
At 11:58 a.m., a 911 call made from the phone of one of the surviving roommates comes in about an unresponsive person at the King Road residence. Responding authorities discover the dead bodies. A knife sheath is found on the bed where Goncalves and Mogen lie.
November 17, 2022: The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office conducts autopsies on the victims. The Latah County Coroner shares initial information that all four were stabbed multiple times. The coroner stated the victims were likely asleep when they were attacked, though some had defensive wounds. None of the victims show signs of sexual assault.
November 20, 2022: During a press conference about the investigation, Moscow Police Capt. Roger Lanier mentions the two unharmed roommates—later named as Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke—were home at the time of the murders. He says neither is considered a suspect.
According to an affidavit of probable cause released on January 5, 2023, a roommate, identified as D.M., told authorities she woke up in her second-floor bedroom around 4 a.m. on November 13 when she heard noise coming from upstairs. A short time later, she thought she heard Goncalves say, “There’s someone here.” She then heard crying from the direction of Kernodle’s room and heard a male voice say, “It’s okay, I’m going to help you.”
D.M. next opened her door and saw a man dressed in black with a mask over the lower part of his face. She describes him as “5-foot-10-inch or taller, male, not very muscular, but athletically built with bushy eyebrows.” D.M. says she was frozen with shock as this unknown man walked past her toward a sliding glass door at the back of the house. She then closed and locked her bedroom door.
November 25, 2022: Moscow police ask area law enforcement to be on the lookout for a 2011 to 2016 white Hyundai Elantra. This request comes after neighborhood surveillance videos show a white sedan driving by the dead-end street where the victims lived several times between 3:29 a.m. and 4:04 a.m. on November 13. The vehicle was then seen quickly driving out of the area at approximately 4:20 a.m. A forensic examiner identifies the make, model, and possible year of vehicle.
November 29, 2022: Washington State University police inform Moscow police that a 2015 white Hyundai Elantra is registered on their campus. The car is registered to Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old Ph.D student in criminology. Washington State University is in Pullman, Washington, which is eight miles from Moscow.
Later, a Moscow police officer reviews Kohberger’s Washington state driver's license photograph. Kohberger's appearance matches that of the unknown man D.M. saw on November 13.
December 23, 2022: Moscow police are granted a warrant to track Kohberger’s cell phone. The phone was in Pullman around 2:47 a.m. on November 13. At the time of the murders, Kohberger’s phone was not connected to any network, which can happen when a phone is turned off or in airplane mode. At approximately 4:48 a.m. on November 13, Kohberger’s phone reconnected to the cell network at a location south of Moscow.
Cell phone records also reveal Kohberger’s phone was close to the crime scene between 9:12 a.m. and 9:21 a.m. on November 13. Historical location data indicates Kohberger’s phone had been near the King Road residence 12 times before November 13. These visits go back to at least August 2022.
December 27, 2022: Kohberger, who has driven his Elantra to his parents’ home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, is under surveillance. Authorities collect trash from the northeastern Pennsylvania home and send the items to Idaho to try to retrieve a DNA sample.
December 28, 2022: The Idaho State Lab compares DNA obtained from the trash to DNA found on the knife sheath left at the crime scene. A DNA profile from the Pennsylvania trash shows a strong probability of being the father of the person whose DNA was obtained from the knife sheath.
December 30, 2022: In a pre-dawn raid, Kohberger is arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania. He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary.
January 3, 2023: Kohberger appears in court in Pennsylvania. He agrees to be extradited back to Idaho, where a judge has issued a gag order that bars attorneys and officials from discussing the case with the public.
January 4, 2023: After arriving in Idaho via plane, Kohberger is booked into Latah County Jail, which is connected to the Latah County Courthouse in Moscow.
January 5, 2023: Kohberger appears before Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall, who orders him to be held without bail.
January 12, 2023: Kohberger, who is being represented by public defender Anne Taylor, returns to court for his second appearance. The trial’s preliminary hearing is set to begin June 26, and Kohberger remains in custody.
What’s Next: This complex case is a work in progress, and a resolution might be years away. We will update this article as we learn new information about the suspect, his legal proceedings, and the crimes.