A knife and a .40-caliber pistol were among an extensive list of personal items that authorities seized from the family home of Bryan Kohberger, the suspect currently detained and awaiting trial in connection with the grisly killings of four University of Idaho students last fall, according to documents released this week.
Records filed by authorities in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, two months ago included warrants detailing investigators' search through Kohberger's belongings immediately after his arrest on Dec. 30. Kohberger was initially taken into custody at his parents' house in Albrightsville, about 90 miles north of Philadelphia, before his eventual transfer to Idaho following an extradition hearing in early January. Police in Pennsylvania had been watching him for weeks prior to the arrest itself, documents show, noting that he arrived in the area on Dec. 16 after driving cross-country from Washington for his school's winter break.
Police served search warrants for the Kohberger family home one day after the suspect's arrest, on Dec. 31, according to newly unsealed documents made public this week. The records remained sealed for 60 days in accordance with standard legal practice in Pennsylvania.
Investigators found and catalogued an extensive list of items uncovered when they searched the house. The warrants revealed that in addition to the knife and Glock pistol, they also discovered three empty magazines, a Smith and Wesson pocket knife, black gloves, a black hat, and a black face mask on the premises. During a concurrent search of Kohberger's car, investigators say they found a number of other personal items, including gloves, goggles, tire irons, a shovel and a wrench, as well as swabs, a Ziploc bag, wrappers, maps and documents, according to the warrant.
Previous documents released on Tuesday revealed that Pennsylvania State Police swabbed Kohberger's DNA and seized a silver flashlight, four "medical-style gloves," a white Arizona Jean Co. T-shirt, a black Champion sweatshirt, a pair of black-and-white Nike shoes, black Under Armour socks, black Under Armour shorts and black Under Armour boxers.
The significance of these extensive inventories in the context of the ongoing police investigation into November's quadruple murder is not clear. Search warrants unsealed on Thursday note that authorities were looking for a range of items that could prove relevant in the probe, including materials with blood or bodily fluid on them, alcohol and drugs, knives, sheaths or other weapons, and any property belonging to one of the victims.
University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, were brutally stabbed during the early morning hours of Nov. 13 inside the women's rental home in Moscow, near the university campus. Reports from the county medical examiner later determined the cause of each of their deaths to be "sharp-force injuries," and said each was stabbed multiple times, likely using a large knife.
Officers with the Moscow Police Department have suggested the weapon used in the killings could be a fixed-blade, hunting-style knife. When police responded to the crime scene after the murders, they found a knife sheath with DNA that matched a sample taken from Kohberger's trash in Pennsylvania, according to an affidavit released in January. Documents made public at the time also noted that investigators had seized stained bedding, strands of what appeared to be hair and one glove when they searched Kohberger's apartment in Pullman, Washington — a short drive from Moscow — where he was pursuing a doctoral degree in criminal justice and criminology at Washington State University.
The murder weapon itself was not recovered, and whether the knife that Pennsylvania officers ultimately discovered at the Kohberger family home is being examined as a possible murder weapon is unknown.
Kohberger, 28, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and felony burglary in connection with the killings at the University of Idaho. The affidavit released in January summarized police interviews with two of the slain students' surviving roommates, identified respectively as B.F. and D.M., who were both in the off-campus rental home the night of the murders.
One of them told investigators that, from the doorway of her bedroom, she recalled "seeing a figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person's mouth and nose walking towards her." She described the person as a man, standing at either 5 feet 10 inches or taller, who was "not very muscular, but athletically built with bushy eyebrows."
The roommate said that the figure walked past her while she stood "in a 'frozen shock phase'" before proceeding to exit the home through a sliding glass door at the back entrance. Investigators found a diamond-shaped footprint, which they attributed potentially to a Vans sneaker, outside of the roommates' doorway during their subsequent sweep of the crime scene.