HARRISBURG, Pa. — A suspect in the killing of four University of Idaho students has been arrested in eastern Pennsylvania, a law enforcement official said Friday.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was extradited to Idaho on first-degree murder charges, according to arrest documents filed in Monroe County Court.
A law enforcement official confirmed the arrest to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the official could not discuss details of the investigation publicly ahead of a formal announcement expected later Friday.
The Ph.D. namesake student is listed in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University, a short drive from the University of Idaho. Messages seeking more information have been left with WSU officials.
The Idaho students — Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin — were stabbed to death in a rental home near campus sometime in the early morning hours of Nov. 13. The killings initially confused law enforcement, and investigators were unable to name the killer. The murder weapon was suspected or found for weeks.
But the case unfolded after law enforcement asked for the public’s help in locating a white sedan seen near his home around the time of the homicide. The Moscow Police Department made the request on Dec. 7, and had to send the lead directly to a special FBI call center the next day because there were too many people coming in.
Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and 20, of Mount Vernon, Washington Chapin, 20, is a member of the university’s Greek language system and a close friend. Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle live in the three-story rental with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were dating, and he was visiting the house that night.
Autopsies revealed that all four may have been asleep when they were attacked. Some had defensive wounds, and each had been stabbed multiple times. Police said there were no signs of sexual assault.
Police said on Thursday that they would begin cleaning the rental property of “potential biohazards and other hazardous materials” from Friday morning to gather evidence. It’s unclear how long the work will take, but a release says the house will be returned to the property manager upon completion.
The killing has rocked the small Idaho town of Moscow, a farming community of about 25,000 people, including about 11,000 students, in the rolling mountains of northern Idaho’s Palouse region.
The case has also attracted online detectives, who speculate on potential suspects and motives. Police have released relatively few details publicly in the early stages of the investigation.
Fear of repeat attacks has prompted nearly half of University of Idaho students to switch to online classes for the remainder of the semester, ditching their typically idyllic town dorms and apartments for the safety of their hometowns. For safety reasons, the university additionally hired a security company to escort students across campus, and the Idaho State Police sent soldiers to help patrol city streets.
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Monroe County is located in the Pocono Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania. The county seat, Stroudsburg, is about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Philadelphia.
MARC LEVY, REBECCA BOONE and MIKE BALSAMO AP