The man suspected of carrying out a quadruple homicide near the University of Idaho campus allegedly left DNA evidence on a knife sheath that was found at the scene, police said in an affidavit released Thursday.
Moscow, Idaho, police Officer Brett Payne described in the document seeing the leather sheath beside the body of Madison Mogen, one of the four students killed in an off-campus house in November.
The item had the words “Ka-Bar” ― a knife manufacturer ― and “USMC” imprinted on it, along with the United States Marine Corps eagle insignia, Payne said.
A man’s DNA was found under the sheath’s snap closure.
Police arrested 28-year-old Bryan Christopher Kohberger in Scranton, Pennsylvania, for the crime late last month, charging him with four counts of premeditated murder and one count of felony burglary.
Kohberger waived his extradition rights after a short hearing in Pennsylvania earlier this week, and was sent to Idaho to face the charges.
He was booked into the Latah County jail on Wednesday night, records show.
Authorities say students Mogen, 21, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were killed by knife wounds on Nov. 13. Most of them had been living together in the house where the killings occurred. Two other people who lived in the house survived the slayings, which took place after each victim had returned home from a night of socializing.
One surviving roommate told Payne that she came face to face with the killer before locking herself in her room.
Around 4 a.m., the roommate thought she heard Goncalves say “There’s someone here.” Payne noted the speaker might have been Kernodle instead, because phone records show she was scrolling through TikTok at 4:12 that morning.
The roommate told Payne she opened her door after hearing the remark, but saw no one. She said she opened her door a second time after she heard crying coming from the direction of Kernodle’s room, and heard a voice say “something to the effect of, ‘It’s OK, I’m going to help you,’” according to the affidavit.
The roommate opened her door a third time and saw a “figure clad in black clothing and a mask” who walked toward her as she stood frozen in shock. The figure then appeared to exit the house through the sliding-glass back door.
Payne said that a security camera located less than 50 feet from one of Kernodle’s bedroom walls recorded distorted audio of “what sounded like voices or a whimper followed by a loud thud,” and a dog barking around 4:17 a.m. (Goncalves reportedly shared a dog with her ex-boyfriend.)
Police believe the killings were over by 4:25 a.m.
The case attracted nationwide attention for the scale of the violence and the weeks that went by with scant developments.
Kohberger’s family is “shocked” by the accusations, according to an NBC News report that cites the suspect’s lawyer.
“They don’t believe it to be Bryan. They can’t believe this,” Jason LaBar, the public defender representing Kohberger, told the outlet.
“This is certainly completely out of character, the allegations, and really they’re just trying to be supportive with the understanding these four families have suffered loss, so they’re sympathetic towards that, and that’s why it should remain really private, and they don’t want to try this case in the court of public opinion,” LaBar said, per NBC News.
Kohberger had been in a Ph.D. program at Washington State University studying criminology, and lived in an apartment a short drive from the site of the killings.
He drove a white Hyundai Elantra, the same type of car authorities sought public help in locating out of suspicion that it was involved with the crime. According to The New York Times, Kohberger received a new license plate for the Elantra just five days after the students were slain.
A vehicle that appears to be a white Elantra showed up on multiple security videos obtained from the students’ neighborhood, according to the affidavit.
In mid-December, Kohberger drove his vehicle from Washington to his parents’ home in Pennsylvania, where he was ultimately arrested. Along the way he was stopped by Indiana police twice for following too closely. Police have released some of the body camera footage from those interactions.