NewsCovering Colorado


Accused killer in Idaho slayings traveled through Colorado a month afterward

Four Dead University of Idaho
Posted at 2:24 PM, Jan 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 16:24:47-05

DENVER — On Dec. 13 — exactly a month after four students were found dead at the University of Idaho — a license plate reader in Loma, Colorado captured the alleged suspect driving through town as he made his way across the country.

The suspect, Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, of Pullman, Washington, has been charged in connection with the deaths of Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21. He's also charged with burglary.

Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle lived in a three-story rental home with two other roommates in Moscow, Idaho, where the university is located, according to the Associated Press. Kernodle and Chapin were dating and he was visiting the house that night. Autopsies showed all four were likely asleep when they were attacked.

Kohberger, a student of criminology at Washington State University, is accused of stabbing the four students to death in the early morning hours of Nov. 13 at their off-campus house.

WSU and Pullman is about a 10-minute drive from the University of Idaho in the City of Moscow.

During the subsequent investigation, authorities found a source of male DNA on the button snap of a knife sheath that was left in one of the rooms, according to a recently released affidavit.

Authorities were able to track down Kohberger's movements across the country after they identified his vehicle as a 2015 white Hyundai Elantra with Washington license plates.

According to the AP, Kohberger apparently stayed in Pullman through the end of the semester at WSU before he drove across the country to his parents' home with his father.

On the morning of the slayings, a white sedan consistent with the Elantra was seen around 2:44 a.m. on the WSU campus headed toward State Route 270, which connects to Moscow, Idaho. At 5:25 a.m., it was spotted again on five cameras in Pullman and the university campus.

Surveillance footage from homes in the King Road neighborhood, where the homicides took place, showed a driver in a white Elantra driving back and forth between 3:29 a.m. and 4:20 a.m. The car passed one camera several times. According to the affidavit, this is unusual since the area is residential with "a very limited number" of drivers in the area during the early morning hours. The last time the car was seen in the area was around 4:20 a.m. as the driver sped away, the affidavit reads.

On Nov. 18, Kohberger registered the Elantra with Washington and received a new license plate number.

On Nov. 29, authorities queried white Elantras registered at WSU and found a 2015 model with a Pennsylvania license plate that was registered to Bryan Kohberger, who lived in Pullman. That same day, a WSU officer located a 2015 white Elantra in the parking lot of Kohberger's registered address. The officer reviewed his license plate photo and noted that Kohberger had bushy eyebrows, which was a description a surviving victim had told police about the suspect.

In mid-December, the car was spotted in western Colorado, then Hancock County, Indiana and then Albrightsville, Pennsylvania.

Kohberger was arrested at his parents' home in eastern Pennsylvania on Dec. 30. He agreed to be extradited to Idaho, according to the AP.