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Idaho Murder Suspect Applied For Police Internship, Touting Ability To Help Authorities Utilize Technology
Bryan Kohberger, under arrest for the murders of four University of Idaho students, applied for an internship with his local Washington police department to help them better use technology in investigations.
An affidavit in support of the arrest of the suspect in the murders of four University of Idaho students in November indicates the Ph.D. student applied for an internship with a local police department to help them analyze technological data in their investigations.
Bryan Kohberger, 28, was arrested in Pennsylvania on Friday in the Nov. 13 murders of University of Idaho students Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20. He waived extradition on Tuesday and arrived in Idaho to face the charges against him on Wednesday evening.
After his return to Idaho, documents in his case became publicly available, including the affidavit in support of his arrest, as Oxygen.com previously reported.
According to Moscow, Idaho police, Kohberger applied for an internship with the Pullman Police Department in Washington state after arriving on the campus of Washington State University (WSU) in August. A "member of the interview panel" for the internship program provided Kohberger's application documents to Idaho investigators, including an essay he wrote in support of his application outlining his "interest in assisting rural law enforcement agencies with how to better collect and analyze technological data in public safety operations."
Kohberger, who was working towards a Ph.D. in criminology at WSU, received his undergraduate degree in psychology and cloud-based forensics from DeSales University in northeastern Pennsylvania.
In the affidavit in support of his arrest, police outlined their extensive use of "technological data" in determining that Kohberger was a suspect in the murders.
Police obtained multiple surveillance videos allegedly showing a white car, ultimately determined to be an older white Hyundai Elantra without front license plates, leaving the Pullman, Washington area around 2:45 a.m. the morning of the murders, then driving near the murdered students' rental home repeatedly between 3:30 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. Video from the same cameras then allegedly shows it driving towards the rental home around 4:04 a.m. and leaving the area "at a high rate of speed" about 4:20 a.m. on the morning of the murders. (Cars registered in Pennsylvania are only required to display back license plates, while those registered in Idaho and Washington have both front and back plates.)
Further surveillance footage allegedly shows the car returning to the WSU campus — where Kohberger lived — around 5:30 a.m.
Following a request from Moscow police for law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for an older white Hyundai Elantra, WSU campus police allegedly determined that Kohberger owned a 2015 white Hyundai Elantra that, until Nov. 18, had Pennsylvania license plates. Kohberger re-registered the vehicle in Washington state four days after the murder and replaced his plates, police say.
Following this identification, Moscow police utilized cell phone records from Nov. 12-14 to determine that Kohberger's phone was seen departing Pullman, Washington around 2:45 a.m. on Nov. 13, after which it had no contact with any cell phone towers until 4:48 a.m., when it resumed transmitting along the highway near Genesee, Idaho — well south of both Pullman and Moscow — before returning to Pullman.
Police allege in the affidavit that the circuitous route was an effort by Kohberger to conceal his location during the murders.
A broader affidavit authorized for Kohberger's cell phone records dating back to June allegedly showed that Kohberger's phone pinged towers near the murdered students' home no less than 12 times before the murder, including on Aug. 21, when he received a traffic ticket in the area around 11:37 p.m. Most of the data suggests he was in the area in the late evening or early morning.
The affidavit concludes with the information that Pennsylvania authorities received DNA from the Kohberger family's trash on Dec. 27, and the Idaho crime lab determined that male DNA recovered from the snap on a knife sheath found near Mogen's body — the knife police believe was used to stab all four students to death — was consistent with Kohberger's father.
It's unclear from the affidavit why police believe Kohberger only stabbed Kernodle, Chapin, Mogen and Goncalves and not the girls' roommates Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortensen, who were also at home at the time. Funke was asleep in her bedroom on the first floor, according to the affidavit, but Mortensen — identified as "D.M." in the affidavit — had a bedroom on the second floor near Kernodle's room. She told police that, around the time of the murders, she heard Goncalves' dog bark, followed by one of her roommates saying someone was there and then crying from Kernodle's room, after which she opened the door, saw a man in all black wearing a mask in the hallway. He walked past her and towards the sliding glass door, and she locked herself in her bedroom.
Her roommates' bodies, as well as Chapin's, were found the following morning.