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Suspect in deaths of four University of Idaho students arrested in Pennsylvania

Bouquets of flowers sit on the ground in front of the red brick University of Idaho sign.
Richard Rodriguez
Boise State Public Radio
Bouquets of flowers sit on the ground in front of the University of Idaho sign after four students were found dead.

Latah County Prosecutors have charged Bryan Christopher Kohberger, a 28-year-old graduate student at Washington State University, with first-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students in November.

Pennsylvania State Police arrested Kohberger early Friday morning at a home in Monroe County, Pa. about two hours north of Philadelphia near the Pocono Mountains, according to court documents.

He is being held without bond while awaiting extradition.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry said at a news conference Friday that anyone who knows Kohberger should submit any information they have to the department’s tipline.

“Be assured, the work is not done,” said Fry. “This is just getting started.”

A man with Kohberger’s name was listed as a Ph.D. candidate at Washington State University in the criminology department. A web page previously listing him within the program was seemingly removed from the school’s website Friday.

Washington State University Police Department helped Idaho law enforcement execute search warrants of Kohberger's apartment and office, both of which are located on the WSU Pullman campus, according to a news release from the university. The news release said Kohberger had finished his first semester as a Ph.D. student in the criminal justice program earlier in December.

“On behalf of the WSU Pullman community, I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of the law enforcement agencies that have been working tirelessly to solve this crime. This horrific act has shaken everyone in the Palouse region,” said Elizabeth Chilton, chancellor of the WSU Pullman campus and WSU provost. "We also want to extend our deepest sympathies to the families, friends, and Vandal colleagues who were impacted by these murders. We will long feel the loss of these young people in the Moscow-Pullman community and hope the announcement today will be a step toward healing.”

Kohberger earned a bachelor’s degree from DeSales University in central Pennsylvania, as well as a master’s in criminology, according to a school spokesperson. She declined to release his dissertation or graduate research at this time.

It’s unclear what evidence Moscow Police used to arrest Kohberger.

The probable cause affidavit is sealed until he makes his first physical appearance back in Idaho, according to Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson.

He’s currently scheduled to appear in court in Monroe County on Jan. 3. Thompson said it could take time to return Kohberger to Idaho if he fights extradition and urged the public’s patience.

Ethan Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogan were found stabbed to death, likely in their sleep, at an off-campus house Nov. 13.

Fry said authorities have not recovered the large knife believed to be used in the murders, but they have found a white Hyundai Elantra believed to be connected to the crime.

He declined to explain much more about the investigation, citing the pending court case.

Many criticized the department’s handling of the investigation over the past month and a half in which little information was released to the public.

Fry said that was by design.

“Providing any details in this criminal investigation might’ve tainted the upcoming criminal prosecution or alerted the suspect of our progress,” he said.

University of Idaho President Scott Green welcomed news of the arrest.

“It’s a relief to our university, our community and our extended Vandal family,” Green said.

A heightened police presence on-campus will continue when students return for the spring semester Jan. 11, Fry said. Many students, fearful of another attack, completed their fall classes online and didn’t return to Moscow.

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!
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