Suspect arrested

Dec. 31—The Moscow Police Department announced Friday that a 28-year-old Pullman resident and Washington State University graduate student has been arrested in connection to the Nov. 13 murders of four University of Idaho students.

Bryan Christopher Kohberger was arrested Friday morning in Chestnuthill Township, Pa., by Pennsylvania State Police officers on four counts of first-degree murder, in addition to a felony burglary charge.

He was arrested on a warrant issued by the Idaho State Police.

Kohberger is a suspect in the stabbing deaths of Xana Kerndodle, Ethan Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen during the early morning hours of Nov. 13 in their King Road residence in Moscow.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry and Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson, speaking at a news conference Friday afternoon at Moscow, didn't provide specifics about what led to Kohberger's arrest in Pennsylvania, his motive or his relationship to the victims.

Much of that information can be found in the court's probable cause affidavit, but Thompson said that document can't be released until Kohberger is physically in Latah County and has been served with the Idaho arrest warrant.

The department did announce it located a white 2015 Hyundai Elantra after weeks of asking for tips about the vehicle police believe was near the King Road crime scene around the time of the murders. Fry said the murder weapon has not been located.

Thompson said Kohberger has already made his initial court appearance in Pennsylvania and is being held without bond. He is scheduled to be back in a Pennsylvania courtroom Tuesday afternoon.

Kohberger has the option to waive extradition and return voluntarily to Idaho. If he doesn't waive extradition, Latah County can initiate extradition proceedings through the governor's office.

"If we do that, it can take a while for him to get here so, again, I'm asking for your patience and understand that's just the way the system works," Thompson said.

Both Fry and Thompson asked the public to continue sending law enforcement tips with any information they have about Kohberger.

"We are still looking for more information," Fry said. "We're still trying to build that picture just like we have stated all along. We're putting all the pieces together and that will help."

The King Road home was scheduled to be cleaned by a private company Friday, but Fry said that has been halted per a legal request from the court.

WSU released a statement Friday confirming the WSU Police Department executed search warrants at Kohberger's office and apartment, both of which are located on the WSU campus in Pullman.

Kohberger had completed his first semester as a Ph.D. student in WSU's criminal justice program earlier this month, WSU said.

Fry thanked law enforcement officials from his department, Idaho State Police and the FBI who investigated the case. He also thanked the media for keeping the investigation on the public's radar, and he thanked citizens around the county, who sent in more than 19,000 tips to officials.

It has been nearly seven weeks since the murders and during that time police limited the amount of information released to the public in an effort to avoid tipping off the suspect and jeopardizing a future criminal trial.

"I will 100% stand behind the way that we handled this investigation," Fry said Friday.

Fry said he believes the Moscow community is safe but said people should remain vigilant and be aware of their surroundings.

UI President Scott Green spoke at the news conference and said the arrest is a relief to the university community. He said there has been an outpouring of public support during the past several weeks.

"Kindness is contagious," he said. "And it provided the light that reclaimed ground lost to evil and darkness."

In an email to UI students and employees, Green announced that the UI does not appear to have any record of Kohberger. He also stated that additional security personnel have been added to the UI's security team and local law enforcement will increase patrols on campus and in nearby neighborhoods.

Classes in self-defense, vigilance, stalking awareness, healthy relationships and more, as well as the distribution of personal safety devices, will continue as planned.

Moscow Mayor Art Bettge released a statement thanking law enforcement across the country involved in the case.

"I hope today's announcement of the arrest of a suspect in the case can begin to provide the answers that we have all sought in our attempts to understand this senseless act," Bettge said.

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