Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger was studying in detail how forensics, DNA and other evidential procedures help prosecutors secure convictions just two weeks before the quadruple murders.
The 28-year-old criminal justice major had ‘enjoyed’ learning about the ways convictions were brought, according to a former classmate.
Graduate PhD student Kohberger had previously studied under a professor in Pennsylvania known for her expertise on serial killers and was studying criminology at Washington State University at the time of the slayings – just minutes from the crime scene.
The suspected killer was arrested on Friday after a more than a month manhunt for the murderer behind the brutal deaths of Ethan Chapin, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Madison Mogen, 21.
Bryan Kohberger was studying in detail how forensics, DNA and other evidential procedures help prosecutors secure convictions just two weeks before the quadruple murders
Kohberger had previously studied under Dr Katherine Ramsland while at DeSales University – with other students saying he would interrupt their famed lecturer as though he ‘knew more’ than she did
Exclusive DailyMail.com photos show cop cars from Washington State University Police parked outside Wilson Short-Hall which houses the criminology department
Investigators in Moscow, Idaho, have yet to outline a motive in the murders of the four students, but those who knew Kohberger say he had a deep interest in the psychology of criminals.
Friends from high school claim that he struggled with heroin addiction in his younger years but appeared to have moved past it.
Jack Baylis told the New York Times that Kohberger was ‘fascinated’ with why people act the way they do, and had a job as a security guard for the Pleasant Valley School District.
Kohberger earned a psychology degree at community college in 2018, before studying psychology and criminal justice at DeSales University.
He was taught in part by renowned forensic psychologist Katherine Ramsland who has written ‘The Mind of a Murderer’ and ‘How to Catch a Killer’.
Ramsland has declined to comment, but spent decades researching serial killers and mass murderers – and is best known for developing a close relationship with serial murderer Dennis Rader – known as BTK.
Federal and state investigators are now combing through his background, financial records and electronic communications as they work to identify a motive and build the case, the official said
Ramsland has written books including, How to Catch a Killer, The Mind of a Murderer and The Human Predator: A Historical Chronicle of Serial Murder and Forensic Investigation
Kaylee and Madison were found on the top floor of the Moscow, Idaho home. College lovers Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were found in a second-floor bedroom while survivors Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke were sleeping on the first floor
His daughter, Kerri Rawson, told NewsNation that she was finding it ‘hard’ to live with and understand if her dad had influenced it.
She said: ‘It’s hard to be the kid of this guy and live with this. You know? And then see somebody else go do this and wonder did your dad influence this?
‘Did my dad talk to him? Was he studying my father outside of academics? Am I ever going to get answers to that, I don’t know.’
A student who was in Kohberger’s criminology class said that he would ‘often interrupt’ Ramsland – ‘as if he knew more about the subject matter than her’ according to Law and Crime.
Federal and state investigators are now combing through his background, financial records and electronic communications as they work to identify a motive and build the case.
The investigators are also interviewing people who knew Kohberger, including those at Washington State University.
Authorities are searching his office on the University of Washington Pullman campus, DailyMail.com can reveal
The suspect graduated from DeSales with a Bachelor’s in 2020 and a Master’s in 2022. Moscow Police Chief James Fry said Friday that Kohberger attends Washington State University
Forensic teams and police work at the apartment of Kohberger nearby Washington State University in Pullman, Washington
The crime took place six weeks ago, 2,500 miles from where Kohberger was arrested. His father flew to meet his son in Washington and drove with him back to their Pennsylvania home
Another former professor of his from Washington State University told DailyMail.com that she was ‘shocked as s***’ by his arrest.
In an exclusive interview, DeSales University Professor Michelle Bolger said she’s in absolute shock after hearing what her former student has been accused of.
‘He’s a brilliant student,’ she told DailyMail.com exclusively from her house in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.
‘I’m shocked as s**t at what he’s been accused of. I don’t believe it, but I get it,’ she said.
Brittany Slaven, who attended DeSales with Kohberher, said the alleged murdered had a ‘particular interest in crime scenes and serial killers.’
She said: ‘At the time, it seemed as if he was just a curious student, so if his questions felt odd we didn’t think much of it because it fit our curriculum.’
Kohberger has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of federal burglary – with Moscow Chief of Police James Fry saying he broke into the student home with the ‘intent to commit murder.’
Police confiscated a white Hyundai Elantra, the same model Moscow police had been hunting for after being spotted close to the crime scene, from outside Kohberger’s home.
DeSales University Professor Michelle Bolger said she’s in absolute shock after hearing that her former student Bryan Kohberger is the accused Idaho quadruple murder suspect
Earlier this year, Kohberger appealed to criminals on Reddit, asking them to share their experiences to help him with his college studies
He had been home for the festive holidays after his father flew 2,000 miles from Pennsylvania to Idaho to drive with his son.
It is unclear if Kohberger’s father, who went bankrupt in 2010, or the rest of his family were aware of the murders.
Law enforcement officials confirmed that his DNA was found at the scene of the crime, though he has no criminal record, which would put his DNA on file.
Investigators were able to match genetic evidence to a family member of the suspect using genealogy databases, CNN reported, citing a source.
Kohberger may possibly face the death penalty in the state – in which his family can’t afford to hire an attorney to fight.
Investigators are still trying to locate the murder weapon more than six weeks after the murders, which they believe was a large knife.
Kohberger’s family addressed the charges on Sunday and asked for people to refrain from judgment.
In a statement they said: ‘We will continue to let the legal process unfold and as a family, we will love and support our son and brother.
‘First and foremost, we care deeply for the four families who have lost their precious children.
Bryan Kohberger, the suspect in the Idaho quadruple murders, once canvassed Reddit asking criminals how they planned their crimes and selected victims as part of his research for his criminal studies degrees
The suspect was attending college in nearby Washington State, where he pursued criminology
Police were on the hunt for Kohberger’s white Hyundai Elantra, which officials began tracking around Christmas time as the suspect drove across the country
Kohberger was allegedly stalking the students in the weeks leading up to the murders. Pictured is the home where the murders took place, just over eight miles from where he worked as a PhD student and teaching assistant
‘There are no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel, and we pray each day for them.
‘We have fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies in an attempt to seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence rather than judge unknown facts and make erroneous assumptions.’
Kohberger’s family asked for privacy during this time as they cooperate with law enforcement to get to the bottom of the case.
Police said they began tracking and surveilling Kohberger around Christmas and stayed on him for four days when they spotted the white Hyundai Elantra they believed was connected to the murders.
Kohberger was allegedly stalking the students in the weeks leading up to the murders.
Idaho police said the four University of Idaho students were murdered in their sleep between 3am and 4am. Pictured: Victims Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Maddie Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and 20-year-old Ethan Chapin
Kohberger was taken into custody in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, a small town in the heart of the Poconos Mountains more than 2,000 miles from where the gruesome killings took place
Moscow Chief of Police James Fry refused to rule out that the killer had an accomplice.
Details of the killings, and the motive for them, are yet to be released, with law enforcement saying a sealed arrest affidavit will be released once Kohberger is extradited back to Idaho.
Friday’s arrest is the first major break in the case – with Kohberger asking if ‘anyone else was arrested’ when he was taken into custody. An extradition hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
He is currently in custody at Monroe County Jail in Pennsylvania until a hearing on January 3.
Public Defender Jason LaBar, who is defending Kohberger, told CNN that he was ‘home for the holidays’.
LaBar is preparing for Kohberger to arrive back in Idaho and already requested he receives a public defender immediately.
He added: ‘He does not have the funding to get a private attorney.’