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Crime News University of Idaho Murders

Pennsylvania Authorities Are Looking Into Cold Cases To See If There's Possible Links To University Of Idaho Suspect Bryan Kohberger

Authorities in two Pennsylvania counties have confirmed they re-examined their cold cases looking for any potential ties to Bryan Kohberger, after his arrest in December for the murder of four University of Idaho students.

By Jill Sederstrom

Pennsylvania authorities are scouring unsolved cases to determine whether there could be any possible links to Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger.

District attorneys from two Pennsylvania counties, where Kohberger once attended college, confirmed to King5 that they are re-examining their cold case files in light of Kohberger’s arrest in late December.

Kohberger has been accused of fatally stabbing four University of Idaho college students in their off-campus rental home on Nov. 13.

RELATED: University Of Idaho Students Report Seeing A 'Staring' Bryan Kohberger On Campus Before Murders

After the arrest, Northampton County District Attorney Terence Houck said he asked his staff to research whether Kohberger could have any links to the unsolved cases in Northampton County, where Kohberger once attended community college.

“Your natural question is to start wondering, ‘is this guy wanted?’” he told King5. “Is his name out there? Did he do anything here in [my] county?”

Houck said authorities searched their unsolved case records using Kohberger’s height, weight and method of operation but have not found any evidence to tie him to any open cases to-date.

“In fact, nothing with respect to Kohberger has come about in our investigations of cold cases or unsolved cases to this point, but we always continue to investigate and pursue leads,” Houck said.

Bryan Kohberger sits with his attorney, public defender Anne Taylor

After attending Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Kohberger went on to get his bachelor’s and master’s degree from DeSales University in nearby Lehigh County.

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin told King5 they have also looked into whether authorities had any contact with Kohberger before he moved to Washington.

Using a database of six million police reports and data, investigators discovered they had one contact with Kohberger after he called 911 when his car was stuck behind a locked gate on a bike trail.

“And there was a response from him thanking the police and apologizing for the inconvenience,” Martin said.

They haven not found any other links to Kohberger.

“We have no unsolved homicides that in any way meet the modus operandi of this event out in Idaho," Martin said.

Kohberger has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary in the deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.

Authorities believe Kohberger snuck into the University of Idaho college students’ off-campus residence in the early morning hours of Nov. 13 and stabbed four of the occupants inside, according to an affidavit previously obtained by Oxygen.com.

Two roommates, including one who chillingly recalled seeing the masked killer in the hallway of the home that night, were not targeted and survived.

Kohberger had been a teaching assistant and Ph.D. criminology student at the nearby Washington State University at the time of the slayings.

He had reportedly been fired from his position as a teaching assistant shortly before his December arrest, according to NewsNation. The outlet reported that he had allegedly been placed on an "improvement plan" because of "behavioral problems” and a “sexist attitude towards women."

Washington State University Vice President of Marketing and Communications Phil Weiler declined to comment on NewsNation's report, citing the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. However, in a statement to Oxygen.com, Weiler stated that Kohberger is no longer a teaching assistant and is not currently enrolled at WSU. 

"Bryan Kohberger received an appointment as a teaching assistant at Washington State University (WSU) during the fall 2022 semester," the statement continued. "It is typical for students to receive a teaching assistantship or similar appointment as part of their Ph.D. program."

Childhood friend Jack Baylis told King 5 that Kohberger had once struggled with a “pretty gnarly” heroin addiction as a teenager before later getting clean and deciding to go into criminology.

“He’s always been kind of fascinated with kind of how the brain works and how people think and why they do what they do,” Baylis said.

He added that he hoped his friend did not carry out the brutal crime that he’s now accused of.

“I hope he didn’t do it,” he said. “I’m a big believer in innocent until proven guilty.”

DeSales University classmate Vernard James recalled a more unnerving encounter with Kohberger, calling him “manipulative” and “cold.

He told the news outlet that he worked on a group project with Kohberger in a biology class.

“We’re approaching the due date and I was feeling like I was left out dry,” James said.

After Kohberger completed the project without him, James said he confronted Kohberger inside the campus library and received a “very intense stare.”

“I remember that. I’ll never forget that looking right into my soul almost, you know, as we were having this back and forth,” James said.

Kohberger has yet to enter a plea to the charges against him.