It took authorities nearly seven weeks to identify and arrest a suspect for fatally stabbing four University of Idaho students while they slept in their home just off campus.
Bryan Kohberger was arrested last month at his family home in Pennsylvania, some thousands of miles from where childhood the murders took place. The victims were 21-year-old best friends Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, their housemate Xana Kernodle, 20, and her boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, also 20.
Authorities found all four victims had suffered fatal stab wounds on Nov. 13 inside a Moscow home. The female victims shared the residence with two other people, who both were home and survived the violence.
The quadruple murder remained a mystery for weeks. Authorities provided minimal updates to the grieving public until the release of an 18-page affidavit on Thursday, detailing how investigators homed in on Kohberger as the alleged killer.
Here is a timeline of their investigation:
Goncalves shares her final post on social media, which includes a photo of Mogen seated on top of her shoulders while Chapin and Kernodle stand next to them, grinning.
“One lucky girl to be surrounded by these ppl everyday,” she captions the carousel of cheery images.
Goncalves spends the rest of her evening with Mogen at The Corner Club, a sports bar in Moscow, while Kernondle and Chapin attend a party at Chapin’s fraternity house, Sigma Chi, on campus.
Goncalves and Mogen are caught on a livestream around 1:30 a.m.. The friends order a late-night snack from the “Grub Truck” food truck before calling a car to take them back to their 3-story home on Kings Road. The women arrive home around 1:56 a.m., about 10 minutes after Kernodle and Chapin return to the residence, investigators will later determine.
Around 4 a.m., Kernodle receives a delivery from Door Dash and phone records show she is still alive and on TikTok 12 minutes later, according to the police affidavit.
Investigators believe all four victims are murdered by 4:25 a.m. at the latest. Around that time, surveillance cameras in the area capture a white Hyundai Elantra driving away from the crime scene “at a high rate of speed.”
At 11:58 a.m., a 911 call is placed on a cellphone belonging to another housemate, asking authorities for assistance for an “unconscious person.” The surviving roommates believ at the time that one of their friends had passed out from drinking too much and was left unable to walk.
When officers arrive on the scene a short time later, they discover the bodies of Goncalves, Mogen, Kernodle and Chapin on the second and third floors of the residence.
Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt confirms all four students were fatally stabbed. She says they were all likely asleep when they were murdered, but notes some of the victims also had defensive injuries.
Mabbutt says the stab wounds were caused by an “edged weapon such as a knife,” which has still not been recovered.
Moscow Police — already on the hunt for the Hyundai Elantra spotted near the site of the stabbings — get a call from a Washington State University police officer. He says authorities in Pullman searched for cars across campus matching the provided description and eventually found one registered to Kohberger, according to the affidavit.
A review of the surveillance video shows the Hyundai Elantra pass the victims’ house three times before entering the area for a fourth and stopping at 4:04 a.m., according to the documents. Police said they traced the car’s travel the night of the slayings back to Pullman, where Kohberger lived.
Cellphone data also put him near the Moscow residence around the same time the carnage occurred.
Authorities call on the community to come forward with any information about the mysterious white Hyundai Elantra. They requested anyone in possession of such a car as well as those who have friends with similar vehicles to either call the tip line or reach out to law enforcement.
“Detectives are interested in speaking with the occupant(s) of a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra, with an unknown license plate,” police said. “Investigators believe the occupant(s) of this vehicle may have critical information to share regarding this case.”
After a month and few major updates from authorities, critics condemn the slow pace of the investigation.
Moscow Police Capt. Roger Lanier attempts to assuage concern on the month anniversary of the killings, saying officers are safeguarding “the information that we’ve discovered at the scene and our investigative information because we want to protect the integrity of this investigation.”
Lanier further vows he will not let the investigation go cold, even amid growing calls for a more experienced law enforcement agency to take over the case.
With winter break on the horizon, Kohberger’s father flies from Pennsylvania to Spokane, Wash. and then drives to Washington State University in Pullman, where he picks up his son so they can travel home together for the holidays. They choose to carry out the cross-country commute in Kohberger’s Hyundai Elantra, the same one being sought by law enforcement.
The father-son duo are twice pulled over during their lengthy journey to the family home in Albrightsville. During the initial stop on I-70, officers say they flagged down the car for tailgating, but let the driver off with a warning. Minutes later, a Hancock County Sheriff’s deputy pulls over the same car around the 107 mile-marker for following “too closely.”
The deputy similarly declines to ticket Kohberger.
Police in Pennsylvania collect trash from Kohberger’s family home and use it to link him to a knife sheath left behind at the crime scene. According to the affidavit, DNA lifted from the rubbish belongs to the father of the person who left their DNA behind on the weapon cover.
Kohberger is arrested in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains on four counts of first-degree murder and burglary.
“No arrest will ever bring back these young students,” Moscow Police Chief James Fry said. “However, we do believe justice will be found through the criminal process.”
Kohberger waives his right to an extradition hearing and is transported from Pennsylvania back to Idaho.
Monroe County Chief Public Defender Jason LaBar in a statement says his client “is eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible.”
Kohberger’s next hearing in scheduled for Jan. 12.