Tragedy Strikes the University of Idaho

Just like many other college students on a Saturday night, University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen–lifelong best friends–decided to go out on November 13, 2022. They went to the Corner Club bar in Moscow, Idaho; nearby, their roommates, partners, and fellow students Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle, partied at a fraternity house. Around the 1:45 a.m. the following Sunday, Goncalves and Mogen arrived at their rental home they shared with Kernodle and two other female roommates; Chapin and and Kernodle arrived separately, as reported by CNN ( on Friday, Nov. 18. In the following hours, the unthinkable happened: the four students were stabbed to death by an intruder, who was finally identified and later taken into custody in December. According to CNN, there had not been a murder in Moscow, Idaho, since 2015. 

As reported by court documents, the murders likely occurred between 4 a.m. and 4:25 a.m.. One of the surviving roommates claims to have heard Goncalves’ movement throughout the night. Upon reportedly hearing Goncalves say “There’s someone here,” the roommate looked outside her room to find nothing out of the ordinary. She opened the door again once she heard “crying” coming from Kernodle’s room, followed by a male voice saying something along the lines of, “It’s okay, I’m going to help you.” Door opened, the roommate saw a man she described as “athletically built with bushy eyebrows” who was dressed in black and walked past her, causing her to freeze in shock. Around 4:17 a.m., a security camera recorded sounds of a barking dog and “distorted audio of what sounded like voices or a whimper followed by a loud thud.” The following morning, the two surviving roommates called over friends after discovering one of the victims unconscious, according to police. They placed a 911 call at 11:58 a.m.; upon their arrival, the responding officers found all four victims. 

After reviewing surveillance videos, police discovered that Washington State University PhD criminology student Bryan Kohberger drove by the house three times that night in his white Hyundai Elantra before entering the house at 4:04 a.m., as reported by ABC News. Police traced the car back to Kohberger’s home in Pullman, Washington; his phone was off from 2:47 a.m. to 4:48 a.m., consistent with “Kohberger attempting to conceal his location during the quadruple homicide,” the documents said. Chillingly, Kohberger was recorded to have visited the house at least 12 times prior to the murders, with all but one instance occurring late at night or early in the morning.

According to authorities, DNA samples taken from the Kohbergers’ family trash were identified to belong to the father of the person who left DNA on a knife sheath left on one of the victims’ beds. On Friday, Dec. 30, Kohberger was arrested at his family home in the Poconos Mountains on four counts of first-degree murder and burglary. While a direct motive is not known as of the present time,  Kohberger reportedly contacted one of the female victims via Instagram direct messages, which were never responded to, according to People magazine ( Furthermore, while Goncalves’ family claims to not know Kohberger, they have begun “seeing connections” that they are not “ready to discuss yet,” as reported by ABC News.

Sophomore Miranda Mangru said the murders make her feel “sorrowful” and “disturbed.” She also believes that Kohberger’s background in criminology is perplexing due to its many implications. “A person could be taking criminology just out of an interest for investigating into cases; just like how many people take interest in watching the ID channel and homicide investigations,” she said. “I would never assume a person taking criminology is going to be a cold-blooded killer, but, unfortunately in this case that is exactly what Kohberger was.” For freshman Gabriela Jarama, the whole attack made her feel “very unsafe,” calling Kohberger’s actions “cruel.” She believes that in a world of gun violence and threats, more safety measures for college students should be established. Junior Mae Dooling said Kohberger’s field of study made her more uneasy, aware that he was in the same room with other students who had no clue what he was capable of. Dooling also believes off-campus residences should have more of a security presence. “Just because students are not directly on the campus doesn’t mean that they should feel any more unsafe living off of it,” Dooling said.