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Surviving Roommate Was 'Scared To Death' After Chilling Encounter With University Of Idaho Suspect, Attorney Says
“This guy had just murdered four people... who knows what was going through her mind," the Goncalves' family attorney said of why one of the surviving roommates waited hours before contacting police.
The surviving roommate who told police she saw the suspected killer of four University of Idaho students stalking through their home was “scared to death” after the chilling encounter, according to a lawyer representing the family of one of the victims.
Dylan Mortensen — referred to in court documents as “D.M.” — told police she heard crying coming from the room of Xana Kernodle and then spotted a masked man “clad in black” walk by her the morning of Nov. 13 sometime after 4 a.m. as she stood in a “frozen shock phase.”
The man, whom she described as being at least 5-feet, 10-inches tall with “bushy eyebrows” and a slender build, passed by Mortensen and then left the home through a sliding glass door, according to an affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
It would be nearly eight hours until a call was placed to 911 at 11:58 a.m.
Shannon Gray, an attorney for the family of victim Kaylee Goncalves, told Fox News that although he didn’t know what led to the delay, he believed the surviving roommate had been terrified by what she saw.
“She was scared. She was scared to death and rightly so,” he said. “This guy had just murdered four people in the home. So, you know, who knows what was going through her mind.”
Gray added that Mortensen’s eye-witness account was able to give police “beneficial” information in the case.
“She was able to give, kind of, height and build and what [the intruder] looked like a little bit — bushy eyebrows, things along those lines,” he said.
Police arrested the suspected killer, Bryan Kohberger, on Dec. 30 at his parents’ home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania. The 28-year-old Ph.D. student at Washington State University had traveled to Pennsylvania earlier that month to spend winter break with his family.
According to Gray, Goncalves’ family does not harbor “any ill will” toward Mortensen for her actions the morning of the quadruple homicide.
“She’s a victim in this case. Everybody kind of forgets that,” he said.
Mortensen, who lived on the home’s second-floor along with Kernodle, told police that she woke up just after 4 a.m. to the sound of what she believed was Goncalves “playing with her dog in an upstairs bedroom,” according to the affidavit.
She told police she thought she heard Goncalves say “there’s someone here.”
Mortensen said she looked outside her bedroom but didn’t initially see anything. A short time later, she heard someone “crying” in Kernodle’s room and a male voice saying, “it’s ok, I’m going to help you,” authorities said.
When Mortensen opened her door a third time, she spotted the intruder dressed in black and wearing a mask that covered his mouth and nose. The man walked toward her, passed by her and then exited out the sliding glass door.
The roommate told police she returned to her bedroom and locked the door.
Shortly before noon, Moscow Police said Mortensen and another roommate, Bethany Funke, who was not targeted in the quadruple homicide, woke up and discovered one of the victims “passed out and not waking up” on the home’s second floor.
They summoned friends to the residence at 1122 King Rd. for help before someone placed a call at 11:58 a.m. for assistance with an “unconscious” person, police said.
When officers arrived, they discovered the bodies of Kernodle, 20; her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20; Goncalves, 21; and Madison Mogen, 21. All four had been stabbed to death multiple times, authorities said.
As for the lengthy delay before contacting police, a law enforcement source told The New York Post it was something “we have puzzled over — we don’t know if it was an issue of intoxication, or of fear.”
The source said however, that investigators are “really, really confident” that Mortensen was not involved in the brutal crime.
Moscow police have also said publicly that they don’t believe either surviving roommate played a role in the killings.
The crime was linked to Kohberger after police found DNA on a knife sheath left behind on Mogen’s bed. Authorities also found surveillance footage that allegedly put his vehicle at the scene at the time of the murders, according to the affidavit.
A phone number linked to the Ph.D. student indicated he had been near the area of the King Road home “on at least twelve occasions prior to November 13, 2022,” suggesting it was possible he may have been stalking some of the victims, authorities said.
Gray told Fox News that Goncalves’ family had never heard of Kohberger until police announced his arrest. He said the family — and the families of all three other victims — are now looking back to see whether they can find any connections between the suspect and victims.
“We’ll supply all of that information to the Moscow Police department and then they’ll make a determination about whether they want to release any of that information,” he said.
Kohberger was returned to Idaho last week to face four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary. He has yet to enter a plea to the charges against him — though his Pennsylvania attorney said Kohberger believes he'll be exonerated.